We want a God who we fear, a God of wrath and judgment. Let me tell you why.
I belong to a liberal, secular women’s book club, the kind where you sip on your glass of Chardonnay, eat finger foods and discuss literature. When it was my turn to select the title, I chose Simon Wiesenthal’s The Sunflower. It’s Mr. Wiesenthal’s telling of being chosen from his work camp’s detail to go to the bedside of a suffering, disfigured and dying SS officer who tells him of the horrific crime he committed against Jewish citizens. The officer begs Mr. Wiesenthal’s forgiveness. The rest of the story concerns Mr. Wiesenthal’s decision, and the book begs the reader to consider what he would do.
As humans, we demand justice. Suffice it to say, my fellow book club members were incensed. This SS officer deserved to die without forgiveness and had no right to even ask a Jewish man for forgiveness for crimes committed against other Jews. Then the spotlight turned to me. What would I do, the group’s self proclaimed Christian? I answered that I would be obligated to forgive because Jesus’ death on the cross was for all…for me, for the SS officer. Next to such a beautiful, just and righteous God, the officer and I are no different. I need grace as much as I need justice. My fellow readers wanted justice without grace. One woman actually said, “You don’t really believe that hogwash do you?” A few glasses of Chardonnay and these ladies will tell you what they really think.If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 1 John 1:8-10
Without judgment there is no grace.
Lord, I confess that I sit in judgment of others when I have no right to. May I step off of my throne to receive your grace with my brothers and sisters. Thank you that you and you alone are holy and just. Thank you for the power of your grace through the death and resurrection of your one and only Son. Thank you for how you work this in my life, moment by moment. Amen