Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything, but God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Romans 2:12-16 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are right-eous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified. When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.
Recently I attended a Christian Education conference and one of our keynote speakers was Tom Long. I took lots of notes during his keynote messages, one of them, in particular, came to mind while reading this passage in Romans. Many times we think of God’s judgment as opposed to love but Tom Long shared the judgment of God theologically speaking is not opposed to the love of God but it is a form of the love of God. He went on to share how judgment is the type of love that says, I love you so much I’m not going to put up with this anymore.
To be the people God calls us to be we must be willing to be shaped by God, molded by God and at times that means we will be ones who are called to the carpet for what we’ve done or left undone. God loves us too much to leave us where we are. It’s a hard notion to accept. I for one grew up in a different denomination that spent lots of time telling me how awful I truly was and filled me lots of shame and guilt. So, to hear someone talk about loving judgment can be hard to grasp. But I do now see, that God’s love is not just some pie in the sky, rainbows, and unicorns, surface level love but the love of God, in Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit is deep and life-altering type of love that calls me into a relationship that asks me to deny myself and take up my cross and follow.
God, we know we are your beloved children. We know we don’t always live as you call us. Help us to accept your loving judgment and abounding grace. Amen.
Go with God!