God as Judge || Jason Leonard
Last week I served on a jury and it’s had me thinking about God and judgment.
“The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man, the roles are quite reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge; if God should have a reasonable defense for being the god who permits war, poverty, and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God’s acquittal. But the important thing is that man is on the bench and God is in the dock.” ~C.S. Lewis (from God in the Dock)
During the opening statements a lawyer told the jury that we decide truth. ”If we say it’s true,” said the lawyer, “it is.” Over and over we were reminded just how seriously we need to listen and consider all the evidence and attend to the gravity of the situation precisely because our decision was authoritative.
Here we are, twelve strangers deciding truth for another human being. It scared me. I began thinking about how crazy it is that we come up with these laws, then decide what applies to them and then we are all answerable to those laws and interpretations. Sitting there, it all seemed so arbitrary. Sitting there, it all seemed so safe to sit in the jury box, hiding behind a number, deciding the fate of another human being.
I kept thinking, over and over, how grateful I am that my life and my worth will not be subject to the opinions of 12 random peers. After I die, there will not be a group of people who gather in a room and discuss whether or not I’m guilty or free. I will not answer to them. I will answer to God. The God before whom no witness needs to be called to testify (John 2:25). The God before whom I will not need to defend anything or explain anything because He will already know (Psalm 139, 1 Samuel 16:7). I will look upon His throne and I will understand who I am and what my worth and value are.
You see, sitting there in the jury box one thing became clear: I was wearing clothes not fit for man. We all, fidgety and flawed, were holding our breath simply hoping we could fill these shoes too big for us. That we, who most of the time don’t even know what truth looks like in our own lives, were trying to discern truth for another. I think all of us that day, Christian or not, would agree that judgment isn’t fit for us.
Where we have flaws, God is perfect. Where we are subjective, God is the object from whom all subject is created. Where we are safe and anonymous, God is intimate and willing to die for us.
I realize that many of us don’t often like to think much on judgment or the nature of God as a judge. But this week, I find myself thankful that God is the judge – not me, not you, not anyone else in all creation. Jesus is our Judge and I say, “Amen“. (John 5:22, Revelation 22:20)
- For Reflection: Many of us struggle with the idea of God judging because we do not trust Him. Our struggles are often (always?) rooted here. The challenge for us is to seriously consider whether or not we can trust God with the judgment of the world and our very lives. It is paramount that we wrestle with this. How dare I, as a follower of Jesus, tell the world that He will judge the living and dead if I don’t honestly believe that is in their best interest and that He can be trusted with such a task. However, if your struggle is with the idea of judgment at all, it may be worth considering what life would look like if God refused to judge. What if nothing was considered sinful? What if no sin was dealt with? What if there were no such thing as consequences? What if every harmful thing which happened could go on for ever without any recourse? Do you think life would be better or worse?
|Jason is a university pastor in Chattanooga and currently studying at Bryan College. He is married, has two kids, a dog, and a problem keeping his mouth shut. Connect with him @jasongleonard|
|Read more posts by Jason Leonard|