How do you reconcile the idea of a loving God and judgment? Over and over again my mind compares things we deal with in our parenting to God’s parenting of us. If I am teachable, the lessons God has for me come through with more clarity and stick better. In today’s readings I see the same principle.
Jesus is saying His judging is just, and, indeed, it is. When I have been at the exposed end of the lash of judgment, if I am really honest and really teachable, I have to admit that regardless of my whining, my objections, my rationalizations, my pride, etc., to the consequences of my actions, the judgment of Jesus IS entirely just. I am struck in two ways when I read today’s passages:
First, I see the Father heart of God-- longing for His children to trust Him and believe what the Word says of Him and His character. The Word says that we are to believe He is faithful, and that His retribution, His judgment is only meant to save us. You can hear the pain in his heart when He says, "…yet you refuse to come to me; to receive life.... they ignored the lesson." As a parent, your goal in "retribution" toward your children is for them -- in their favor-- for life. There is a deep pain, then, when you are falsely accused of not loving them, and you see that the lessons you have offered them are ignored. But deeper still is the pain that your children don't trust that you have their best in mind.
Second, that God is, indeed, just – and I say this in my mid-40's. Yes, it’s taken me this long to really believe that whatever my present pain happens to be, God is, indeed, just. I know, regardless of the situation at hand, that God is bigger still and trustworthy beyond any circumstance. I know that He only and always allows what He allows in my life because He is for me, He is in my corner, and He wants me to come to Him believing good of Him and knowing, believing, trusting that He lovingly means his judgments to bring life to me.