Sermon-on-the-Mount Sentence

Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. (Matthew 5:25)

Sobering thought: all of us are on our way to the Judge. And not just any judge, but the One Who sees all, knows all, and judges with perfect righteousness. Unlike us, who tend to see only what we want to see. And to judge rashly and blindly, because we care, above all, about: me, me, me.

scales_of_justiceNot that we never have a right to get angry or to judge anything. Injustice will anger us. Someone punches you in the face, you get angry. And if someone does you wrong, and a remedy for the wrong stands available for you to pursue, you pursue it. Calmly, according to law.

But sometimes there’s no remedy. And even if there is one, it won’t touch the heart of the matter anyway. Because the heart of the matter is this: We all have something in common. All of us—the good, the bad, and the ugly. We all have this in common: We can make no claims on God Almighty.

Almighty God gives out of love, not out of indebtedness; not because some law of justice governs Him. So: if someone wrongs me, okay. I have been wronged. But I still have much more than I could ever claim to deserve, because God gave me everything I have in the first place, without me “deserving” it at all.

I think it’s easier to make peace with our neighbors on the way to altar when we remember this. Yes, maybe I have a right to be mad at so-and-so, because of such-and-such. But I have no right to imagine that such-and-such amounts to a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. Plus, there are plenty of people out there who have a right to be mad at me, about far-more-serious matters.

The world abounds with little tribunals seeking justice, with varying degrees of success. But, in the end, every human being will face the same tribunal of justice. And at that ultimate and definitive judge’s bench, we all have only one real hope. Namely, that the Judge will look upon us with mercy.

The same mercy that moved Him to make the sun rise this morning, even though the human race hardly deserves such a favor. Our hope for Judgment Day is: that Jesus Christ, with His Heart wounded for us, will be the One sitting behind the judge’s bench.

Jesus: The all-knowing, perfectly righteous Judge. Who has shown Himself to be the infinite goodness and kindness and mercy of God.

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