Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why we need judgment

Through the Bible in 90 Days: Day 66

Read: Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum

Verse that stood out:
The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished - Nahum 1:3

I'm an underliner when it comes to reading through my Bible. That is, I like to mark the verses that stand out to me. If you were to glance through the pages of the prophets in my Bible, you would see plenty underlined. Usually those few verses of promise or hope that sparkle against the dark background of God's judgment found in the rest of the book.

If I'm not careful, I can begin to think of the Bible only in terms of the underlined verses forgetting that the rest of the words in the book have meaning, as well. This is especially true concerning the words of judgment. We may not like such words, but we need judgment. We need to be judged. It is the only way to know the right. It is the only way to be set right.

The late Richard John Neuhaus illustrated this truth in his book Death on a Friday Afternoon:

"Recall when you were a little child and somebody - maybe you - did something very bad. Maybe a lie was told, some money was stolen or the cookie jar lay shattered on the kitchen floor. The bad thing has been found out, and now something must happen, something must be done about it. The fear of punishment is terrible, but not as terrible as the thought that nothing will happen, that bad things don't matter. if bad things don't matter, then good things don't matter, and then nothing matters and the meaning of everything lies shattered like the cookie jar on the kitchen floor."

Judgment reminds us that what we do matters. Judgment reminds us that we matter. Most important of all, judgment paves the way for forgiveness. Before we can ever bask in Christ's words, "Father, forgive them" we must be aware that we need forgiving. We must be judged.

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