What should you do when you see someone cheat on a workout? How should you respond? One thing that can keep us from responding inappropriately is to recognize there will be a day of judgment.
It is common to frown on the idea of a judgment day. It has been made to sound archaic and only associated with negativity. As we reflect on the truth, the day of judgment can be a wonderful blessing to each of us. It fulfills a craving we all have, and it motivates us to live faithfully.
We want justice when someone hurts us. When we do something wrong, we experience guilt. Our consciences point us to a deep sense of justice. Wrong must be punished. However, Jesus says, “Do not judge others and you will not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1) So, how does a Christian respond with grace without approving of wrongdoing? How is it possible to forgive when we are hurt?
The Bible says this is one of the reasons we need a judgment day. We are instructed to “wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)
When we strip the Bible of the day of judgment, we lose a central teaching that empowers us to forgive. We can’t possibly see into one another’s hearts, but we can rest knowing God sees everything. Jesus said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment, people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)
In a sense, this is no different than a cheated rep in training. On the day of judgment, or what we call “The Open,” every missed rep will be exposed. Our missed reps in training will expose our lack of fitness, and missed reps on judgment day will keep us from a better score. So, if an athlete cheats in his training, there is no need to seek punishment. The day of judgment will take care of it.
Judgment Day is not the enemy of those who know Christ. It is our motivator to make every day count. It gives us permission to forgive and let go, because God has forgiven us. And it gives us assurance our work is worth it. Thank God for judging! “Only then will any one of us get to hear the ‘Well done!’ of God.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)
- What motivates us to cheat in our training, and how does competition keep that temptation in check?
- How can a misunderstanding of judgment keep us from forgiving others? From forgiving ourselves?
- What does the cross of Christ teach us about judgment?