A number of years ago my wife and I were witnesses of road rage — and our car was the victim. As the police officer took our statements, he asked if the assailant walked around the front of our car or the back. My bride quickly answered “the front” and just as promptly, I replied “the back.” We gave an incredulous glance to the other, with real concern over the other’s sanity.
I attributed our contradicting testimonies to the trauma of the situation and later wondered if eyewitness testimony in a court of law could really be depended upon with any degree of accuracy.
This has all been brought back to mind with our “52 Churches” journey, where we will be visiting a different Christian church each Sunday for a year. Each week as we drive home from church and later process our experiences, we all too often recall details differently. Usually these are over trivial facts, but occasionally our conflicting observations are over more substantive matters.
It will be pointless for me to suggest who is normally right — especially since my bride will be proofreading this post — but I will declare it to be 50-50.
What I do know is given this experience — where we’re focusing on making detailed and accurate observations, even to the point of taking notes — the testimony given in any hearing or trial is most certainly suspect. And that is a real problem when the truth is essential.