The passage of Scripture I am struggling with for next Sunday is one that brings up the issue of judgment. It is a passage the speaks of a final separation of those who are children of the kingdom and the children of the evil one.
Thinking about judgment is disturbing. To reflect upon the possibility of a human being living in an existence from which there is no comfort, no possibility of hope is a hard thing to do. If we love people (to love God one cannot help but love people) eternal judgment seems so against ideas of mercy and compassion.
I cannot come up with an explanation for why this must be. I can only accept the fact that Scripture does teach the certainty of this event and the awareness deep within my own heart that what the Scripture teaches is true. The necessity of this reality is not something we can rationalize or fit neatly into some theological construct we might create to easy our distress. It is, however, something that should motivate us out of love and concern to reach out in urgency to those who may be at risk. It is also something that we should be concerned with ourselves as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Assurance comes with intimacy not complacency. Confidence comes with commitment and involvement not with assumption or ignorance.
In my reflection, I also believe that if the promised coming of judgment is hard for us, we cannot image how hard it must be for God. It is my limited understanding that God is omnipresent. In this statement I am expressing the belief that there is no place that God does not exist. If this is true, then the eternal state of separation is a place that God endures as well as those who have rejected God’s grace. How painful will it be for God to see these people created out of God’s love in this state of separation. The omnipresence of God would seem to indicate that God too carries a great burden for those who chose the path of perdition.
My theological task this week is a challenge. It will require a lot of prayer and reflection. I will have to seek diligently the guidance of the Holy Spirit for understanding and direction as I seek to mold a message that has meaning and inspires motivation to respond in faith to what is a hard truth to face.
I do this because I do love the Lord.