Most of us have a visceral response when we hear the word judgment. It brings to mind a wagging finger and a disapproving stare, or worse. Our response is stronger when we expand this idea to Divine judgment. But is there a way for us to view judgment differently?
As children, our parents help us to learn to navigate the world by discipline as well as encouragement. Without the gift of discipline, we would burn our hand on the stove or slam our hands in the car door. On the other hand, our parents judge certain activities to be constructive and encourage us to embrace them. Judgment takes place on a moment-by-moment basis in our lives, because as we think and believe, so we receive. When we are engaging in constructive activities, we experience the fruits of the spirit. When we are not, we typically experience some form of discomfort as a reminder to change our course.
The spiritual life is a journey in which we have choices and the opportunity to learn every step of the way. The call is simple. All that God asks is our willing participation in God’s unfolding plan. But as human beings, we have only glimpses into the fullness of our divine purpose. We must remain open and receptive to Divine guidance. The Spirit of God is not a passive watcher but is an active, cleansing, purifying, transforming force (before him is a devouring fire, and a mighty tempest all around him). When we make God a part of our lives we cannot help but be changed. Old, false beliefs are surrendered.
But we see that sacrifice is not enough. There is a point at which we have done all of the giving up our error thoughts (sacrificing of animals) that can be useful. This is what we call denial. Denial is the first step in understanding the Law. All of the thou shalt not commandments are denials of error thoughts and ideas. The void left by denials must be accompanied by an openness to the Truth of God (thanksgiving). Many believe that Christ brought a new covenant. What we see here is that the Law did not change. Christ brought humankind a deeper understanding of the Law. We can see in Psalm 50 that the ideas of grace and affirmation existed in the OT, but human beings did not grasp the full meaning of the covenant. With both denial and affirmation, humanity can be delivered from false beliefs into spiritual understanding.
In truth, there is no hope for error thoughts and ideas (the wicked). The thoughts that are undisciplined and rebellious against Spirit’s guidance. These thoughts keep company in the chaos of worldly ideas and ideals, and consequently are transient. When we embrace error thinking there are always consequences. But the Spirit of God comes in a fiery cloak to purify, cleanse and banish these thoughts. And the Truth (those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice) is revealed to us so that we can be strengthened and be restored to wholeness. When our thoughts are in order (go the right way), we can claim our spiritual inheritance.
And so it is! Amen!