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Jason Silver

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Thoughts and Reflections on Scripture



Friday, September 20th, 2019
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No one likes to be judged, and so much so that it's become a kind of saying: "don't judge me, man."

We resist the idea that our actions might be wrong; that we could have chosen a purer moral alternative; but we also doubt whether there's anyone able to stand in judgement of us, because, we say, "nobody's perfect."

Nobody, except God of course.

Not believing in God seems like a great trick, a slight-of-hand to avoid perfection's judgement. In other words, we'd rather think there's no one to judge us, anyway.

But if we're honest, and if we take a close look at our depression, our anger, our frustration with ourselves, we are our own worst judge! We ourselves hold up an ideal of perfection. We imagine ourselves as better husbands, or mothers, or friends. We have a shape outlined in our subconscious that looks very much like a perfect being. This shape always says the right thing, is honest and truthful, loving and fair. This shape criticizes us for falling short.

I believe that this shape is a shadow of God imprinted on our hearts.

But we don't take it far enough. We understand our own shortcomings, but that shape is petty and mean. We haven't truly considered what a loving judge who has the whole picture, all the details, all the pain, and all the disappointments tallied and included in the ultimate judgement.

Many of us have a harsh mental image when we think of God as a judge. We laugh about ducking lightning bolts, but at the root of it, we believe God to be a critical being, who stands on the outside, and compares our behaviour against His ideal.

It's hard to imagine a judge like the one the psalmist is describing. He says this judge is a cause of celebration! He calls out to the seas to roar, and the waters to clap their hands! He wants the sounds of trumpets to join with the earth to make a joyful noise! Even the hills are to sing because of the perfection of God, because of this judge, whom we are resisting!

It does seem kind of crazy to celebrate a judge in this way! The stereotype of judge is a stern-faced, no-nonsense critic, who holds life and death, prison or freedom, over the heads of those who miss the mark.

Of course, the celebration called for can only be acceptable if this judge is righteous and fair. Of course he is! He is coming to judge the world with equity! He knows your hearts, so turn to him! He is the source of compassion! He is described as love himself! What better judge, than the God of mercy and grace!

Come to him, all you who are weary, and heavy-laden. He will give you rest!