I’ve been spending time in Psalms this summer, and I can’t help but notice that the topic of judgment comes up—a lot. David always seems to be asking God to smite an enemy, claiming refuge for himself in God’s love and mercy.
I hear a lot of people eschew the Old Testament on the grounds that they don’t like that God (the Smiter), preferring the kinder, gentler Lord of the New Testament. But do we really? Would a non-judgmental God be good?
Think of someone who has wronged you deeply and unjustly. Think of a situation in the world that grieves you for its injustice and cruelty. Do we really want a God who would do nothing to set these things right?
The essence of God’s view of judgment can be found in Romans:
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.Romans 12:19
To judge rightly requires a just judge; therefore, God asks that we leave the judging to him–the only one who is righteous–and focus instead on loving others, since we too have fallen short and sinned. (Romans 3:23).
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?Matthew 7: 1-29
Turns out we have our hands full coming to grips with our own sinful thoughts, words and deeds. It is clear throughout the Bible, and from those who have experienced death (See Love the One Right in Front of You) that when we die each of us will be asked to give an account of how we impacted others for better and for worse.
As children of God, we know first-hand that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother/sister.Romans 14: 12-13
God calls each of us, who have experienced this life-changing love and undeserved grace, to pay it forward, including to our enemies. For nothing more powerfully provokes another to turn to Jesus than the gift of undeserved forgiveness and grace…and the more undeserved the more powerful its force.
Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing.1 Peter 3: 9