Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Our LORD of Mercy...or Judgment?

The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.

Father, I treasure that description you offered Moses.
It is my testimony, too.

…but I read on in Exodus:

Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation. (Exodus 34:6-7)

That was resolved with your covenant and settled for all time by Jesus, but still, the notion of divine judgment makes me squirm.

Some Christians embrace the concept with way too much enthusiasm, confident that you will judge people of other cultures, faiths and political parties. I'm prepared to be surprised by my neighbors in Heaven.

Theologians advise us to hold your mercy and judgment in tension. It's a conflict of the heart and intellect that eludes human knowing. I look forward to an explanation in the classroom of Eternity.

Lord Christ - as I wait (with some frustration and impatience) - I confidently pray that the divine scales are decisively tilted toward grace and mercy.*

Holy Spirit, help me to live that way. Amen.

* - Brent Strawn, Emory University