Let God Be Judge

canstockphoto2748653There are things that make us human, and there are things that make God God.

If God wants to become human, you end up with Jesus. And that’s a good thing.

When humans want to become gods, we become less than human. The evil that is done in this world is not caused by some dark, shadowy figure; it’s caused by our inhumanity.

In our desire to be gods, we become less than human.

Of course, I’m overstating it a bit; few of us we want to actually become a god.

We’d be content with being like God. And that’s not so bad, is it?

Isn’t that the goal—to be godlike? Check your thesaurus, and synonyms for godlike include holy, spiritual, saintly, and angelic. So that’s good, right?

Except in Genesis 3 when the serpent tempts the humans to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he says that when they eat their eyes will be opened and they “will be like God.”

So sometimes being godlike leads to saintliness, and sometimes it leads to the Fall.

This is so confusing.

Genesis 1 says that we are all created in the image and likeness of God, so there are certain characteristics that we share with God.

Creativity, for instance—the ability and impulse to create beauty, even to create life.

That’s pretty big.

He also shares some responsibilities with us—to care for his creation, to forgive sinners, to love lavishly, to share grace.

There are also some responsibilities that he doesn’t share with us because we don’t share all of his characteristics—we don’t know everything, for instance.

So while he shares with us the ability to create life, he reserves for himself the right to take another person’s life.

“Thou shalt not kill.” He reserves this for himself because we’ve demonstrated throughout history that we are pretty bad at discerning who deserves to live and who deserves to die.

Sometimes we get it right; more often we get it oh so wrong.

Here are some of the things that ancient Israel deemed deserving of death: hitting or even cursing one’s parents, Sabbath-breaking, enticing someone to follow another religion, and disobeying one’s parents.

If we did that today, would there be anyone who’d even make it to the teenage years? And certainly no teenagers would make it through to adulthood.

Here’s another one: God is the judge of sinners. He reserves that for himself.

Unless you are specifically called to be a prophet—and don’t even go there—you don’t get to rail against the sin of someone else.

The New Testament declares that Jesus is the judge of the living and the dead. (Acts 10:42; 2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5)

Which means that we aren’t. None of us. We’re just not any good at it. We pull up the wheat as well as the weeds. (Matthew 13:24-30)

Our job is to to be witnesses—literally martyrs—of his love, grace, peace, and justice for the poor and downtrodden.

There are many well-meaning Christians today who genuinely feel that they are somehow disobedient if they don’t speak out against the sins of others; that they are being unfaithful to God’s righteousness if they don’t denounce others; that they are in danger of God’s judgment if they don’t judge others.

But Jesus warns that it’s in our judgmentalism toward others that we are most in danger. “For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” (Matthew 7:2)

We are to be like God in terms of grace, forgiveness, standing up for the weak, loving the hard-to-love, and all the others things that bring life.

And for the rest, we need to be content to let God be God.

Photo by © Can Stock Photo Inc. / Klementiev

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