Friday, 7 December 2012

7th December 2012

With the divine gift of freedom, human beings learn to change, adapt, be responsive to life and all its events. This leads to responsibility - how do we use the choices before us? To further our evolution or just to subsist and survive? For growth or destruction? For the benefit of self or of others? For good or for ill, however that may be understood in context.

Knowing that we are mortal brings with it consideration of what we might do or become within that finite time span of life. We reflect on these things at each major stage in life, matching our ambitions and plans against the reality of our achievements. However great or small our resources and potential may be, each of us is finite. It's quite natural to want to make the best out of our limited opportunities, and check that we are doing so. However, when our own expectations aren't met, either for ourselves or others, a sense of failure and inadequacy causes distress, undermines trust and confidence. This is of no benefit to a healthy life.

With good reason  Paul teaches: "There must be no passing of premature judgement." We cannot see the wider context in which present success or failure occurs. It's better not to engage in the kind of criticism which undermines, when what everyone needs is nurture and support. Jesus often speaks against pre-judging and condemning each other. He teaches that mutual restraint is vital for the health of all our relationships when he says: "Judge not and you shall not be judged." If we are to use our critical faculties considering our lives or the lives of others, it must be to build up and not to break down.

Scripture speaks of the End as the proper occasion for final judgement. Then, all created things and human beings are to give account of themselves for the part they have played in the unfolding of the divine purpose while time continued its course. When the End comes for us, whether it's early for us or finally: "It is our human lot to die once, with judgement to follow.." says the writer of Hebrews.

It's not an occasion to criticise or condemn, but for Christ's work to be completed, bringing salvation (wholeness and fulfillment) to those eagerly awaiting him. Only the Creator can ultimately evaluate what people make of themselves in this life. The reason why judgement and condemnation are so closely linked in our thinking is fear that inadequacy and failure will cause our annihilation. Scripture itself, born in a context of tough testing and trial has its share of imagery expressing this anxiety, but it is not the last word on judgement.

In the End, Christ will be all in all. No matter how anxious, dramatic and tortuous this process, the way to salvation remains open for every person to reach ultimate fulfillment in Him.

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