Archive for the ‘Judgement’ Category

People prefer comforting lies than harsh truth

April 24, 2011

But on 3 September 1941 a Jewish woman arrived in the city, bandaged, barefoot, and with dishevelled hair. Her name was Sonia. In the street she spoke to a Jewish doctor, Meir Mark Dvorjetsky – she had come she said from Ponary. No, it was not a labour camp, and then she told the doctor her story:     Corpses at  Rainiai  “She and her two children had been among the Jews seized, imprisoned and then taken out of the city on 31 August – how they were brought to Ponary, how Jews were trying to reckon with their own consciences, how they were trying to confess their sins before death, how she had heard shots and saw blood and fell.”      As the doctor later recalled:     She was among the corpses up to sunset and then she heard the wild shoutings of those who carried out the murder. She somehow or other managed to get out of the heaps of corpses, she got to the barbed wire entanglements – she managed to cross them and she found a common Polish peasant woman who bandaged her wounds, gave her flowers and said, “Run away from here, but carry flowers as if you were a common peasant, so that they shouldn’t recognise that you are a Jewess.”     And then she came to me. She un-wrapped the bandage and I saw the wound. I saw the hole from the bullet and in the hole there were ants creeping. Dvorjetsky hurried to a gathering of Vilna Jews to tell them the story. “This is not a labour camp where you’re going to be sent to, he said. “This is something else.”     But they could not believe him – “You are the one who is a panic monger,” they replied. “Instead of encouraging us, instead of consoling us, you are telling us cock-and-bull stories about extermination. How is it possible that the Jews will be simply taken and shot.”

Martin Gilbert, Holocaust, pp.193-4

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In 1993 a Ku Klux Klansman named Henry Alexander made a confession to his wife.

April 24, 2011

In 1993 a Ku Klux Klansman named Henry Alexander made a confession to his wife. In 1957 he and several other Klansmen had pulled a black truck driver from  his cab, marched him to a deserted bridge high above a swift river, and made him jump, screaming, to his death. Alexander was charged with the crime in 1976-it took nearly twenty years to bring him to trial-pled innocent and was acquitted by a white jury. For thirty-six years he insisted on his innocence, until the day in 1993 when he confessed the truth to his wife. “I don’t even know what God has planned for me. I don’t even know how to pray for myself,” he told her. A few days later, he died.

Alexander’s wife wrote a letter of apology to the black man’s widow, a letter subsequently printed in The New York Times. “Henry lived a lie all his life,- and he made me live it too,” she wrote. For all those years she had believed her husband’s protestations of innocence. He showed no outward sign of remorse until the last days of his life, too late to attempt public restitution. Yet he could not carry the terrible secret of guilt to his grave. After thirty-six years of fierce denial, he still needed the release only forgiveness could provide.

Philip Yancey, What’s so Amazing about Grace?, p.100

I don’t think God judges anybody

December 18, 2010

I don’t think God judges anybody. He loves everybody equally. I think there’s a slight difference when it comes to very evil people, but there are not too many of those in the world.

 

Sinead O’Connor

 

 

A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse

November 18, 2010

Shakespeare immortalised Richard III, a King betrayed, unhorsed, surrounded by his enemies and finally calling out “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.” All his wealth, power and kingdom he would gladly have traded merely for a horse in that moment when faced with death. What use was his kingdom then?

And when man has gained all and must stand before his Judge on that Day, he may cry out as if mimicking Richard: “Righteousness, righteousness, all I own for righteousness!” What will a man give in exchange for his soul?

What did you preach for?

December 26, 2009

A minister, in the early part of the 17th century was preaching before an assembly of his brethren; and in order to direct their attention to the great motive from which they should act, he represented to them something of the great day of judgment. Having spoken of Christ as seated on His throne, he described Him as speaking to His ministers; examining how they had preached, and with what views they had undertaken and discharged the duties of the ministry. ‘What did you preach for?’ ‘I preached, Lord, that I might keep a good living that was left me by my father; which, if I had not entered the ministry, would have been wholly lost to me and my family.’ Christ addresses him, ‘Stand by, thou hast had thy reward.’ The question is put to another, ‘And what did you preach for?’ ‘Lord, I was applauded as a learned man, and I preached to keep up the reputation of an excellent orator, and an ingenious preacher.’ The answer of Christ to him also is, ‘Stand by, thou hast had thy reward.’ The Judge puts the question to a third. ‘And what did you preach for?’ ‘Lord,’ saith he, ‘I neither aimed at the great things of this world, though I was thankful for the conveniences of life which Thou gavest me; nor did I preach that I might gain the character of a wit, or of a man of parts, or of a fine scholar; but I preached in compassion to souls, and to please and honour Thee; my design, Lord, in preaching, was that I might win souls to Thy blessed Majesty.’ The Judge was now described as calling out, ‘Room, men; room, angels! let this man come and sit with me on my throne; he has owned and honoured me on earth, and I will own and honour him through all the ages of eternity.’ The ministers went home much affected; resolving, that through the help of God, they would attend more diligently to the motives and work of the ministry than they had before done.

– John Whitecross, The Shorter Catechism Illustrated

I think now that my disaster really began when I looked up one day—and the bench was empty. No judge in sight

December 16, 2009

…for many years I looked at life like a case at law, a series of proofs. When you’re young you prove how brave you are, or smart; then, what a good lover; then a good father; finally, how wise, or powerful, or what-the-hell-ever. But underlying it all, I see now, there was a presumption. That I was moving on an upward path toward some elevation, where—God knows what—I would be justified, or even condemned—a verdict anyway. I think now that my disaster really began when I looked up one day—and the bench was empty. No judge in sight. And all that remained was this endless argument with oneself—this pointless litigation of existence before an empty bench. Which, of course, is another way of saying—despair.

Quentin in Arthur Miller’s, After the Fall, quoted in Timothy Keller, The Reason for God, (Hodder 2008), pp.156-7.

If God were not angry at injustice and deception and did not make a final end to violence—that God would not be worthy of worship

December 14, 2009

If God were not angry at injustice and deception and did not make a final end to violence—that God would not be worthy of worship…. The only means of prohibiting all recourse to violence by ourselves is to insist that violence is legitimate only it comes from God… My thesis that the practice of non-violence requires a belief in divine vengeance will be unpopular with many… in the West…. [But] it takes the quiet of a suburban home for the birth of the thesis that human non-violence [results from the belief in] God’s refusal to judge. In a sun-scorched land, soaked in the blood of the innocent, it will invariably die… [with] other pleasant captivities of the liberal mind.

Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (Abingdon, 1996), pp. 303-04.

love and wrath are only the obverse and reverse of the same thing

November 17, 2009

It is hard for us to imagine wrath which is entirely free from the personal elements of malice
and vindictiveness, and therefore we misconstrue the wrath of God. But if we express it in other
words, His wrath is no more than the clear shining of His light, which must go forth implacably
to the destruction of all darkness. The best way to understand the doctrine of the wrath of God is
to consider the alternatives. The alternative is not love; since rightly conceived, love and wrath
are only the obverse and reverse of the same thing. The alternative to wrath is neutrality –
neutrality in the conflict of the world. To live in such a world would be a nightmare. It is only
the doctrine of the wrath of God, of His irreconcilable hostility to all evil, which makes life
tolerable in such a world as ours.’

Bishop Stephen Neill

A few of the victims of Nazi death camps were extremely wealthy. One man had come into the camp with hat, gloves and well-cut overcoat. A few days later he was working at the crematorium refuse heap

November 17, 2009

A few of the victims of Nazi death camps were extremely wealthy. One man had come into the camp with hat, gloves and well-cut overcoat. A few days later he was working at the crematorium refuse heap. He, ‘who had looked like a diplomat, had become a dirty, lice-infested, human wreck, his spirits broken.

I saw him go over to one of the camp foremen and whisper (something). The prisoner…brought out a small leather pouch (and) shook the contents into his palm. Like a million little suns the diamonds shone and sparkled. The foreman nodded and held out three miserable uncooked potatoes, and the elderly man, shaking with impatience, tore them out of his hand and put them to his mouth.

Here, in this Stock Exchange of Hell, the value of a bag of diamonds was three uncooked potatoes. And this value was the real one. Three potatoes…prolonged life, gave strength to work and to withstand beatings. For a while, a short while, it might delight the eyes of a ruthless murderer, but when the day of reckoning came it would not save his life.

Martin Gilbert, Holocaust, p.729

What is the true value of our possessions? What is the use of acquiring the world’s goods when a man may lose his soul?

Too late

November 9, 2009

Air France’s Concorde crashed shortly after take-off from Paris’ CDG airport in July 2000.

As the investigators sought to discover the reason for the accident, they scoured the tapes of the pilot’s conversations with the control tower. His last words, as he fought to save his stricken aircraft were, ‘Too late.'”

Many will say with regret when they meet King Jesus on Judgement Day, ‘Too late’. Too late to repent; too late to receive the free gift of salvation; too late to believe; too late to do anything to avert destruction.