Who sits in Judgement?
Mar 13, 2017
Last week I went to the movie “The Shack”. It was pretty true to the book that had been published in 2007. For me it captures perfectly the crucial issue concerning our salvation. In a central scene, the main character is asked to sit upon a throne of judgement and is given permission to judge God. This is not the first time that he has done this, but in the presence of Wisdom all of his previous judgements become explicit.
Pope John Paul II taught this same encounter. Jesus makes it clear that God has already judged the world and each of us. (John 3:16-21). However, we are born with our own free will. Our salvation is not so much that God judges us and finds us worthy, instead it is we who judge God and find Him wanting. I have heard people tell me in all sincerity that “God has a lot of explaining to do” when they meet Him in heaven. (I often wonder if that will be where they meet Him in the first place.) People judge God because there is violence and war and destruction in this creation of His. If He is so powerful how could He possibly allow my loved ones to be killed? Why doesn’t God stop the madness of war and disease? They can become very personal in their judgements: “I quit praying when God did not answer my prayer and cure my husband”. Sometimes it is just a general thought that since they cannot see this Being it doesn’t exist.
Some of the most devout Christians, who, when asked, would tell you that they would never judge God but they live in such fear of His judgement on them they are trapped in their devoutness. In doing this they are making a judgement about God that He is harsh, cruel, and exacting. Yes, having a free will gives us the capacity not only to choose the right and good things but also to confuse good with bad and thus live in an upside world in which we think the bad is good and the good is bad.
In large part Jesus’ time on earth was meant as a corrective to what began in the story of Adam and Eve. He came to show us what it means to trust in the Father’s goodness even at personal cost. To help us understand once again let God be the decider of good and bad instead of the self.
I will not spoil the movie for you by telling you the outcome of that great scene but I do highly recommend “The Shack” to you.