For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
and he examines all your paths.
If the Christian story is true – which I believe it is – and if there is an all-knowing God, he would have full knowledge of me. He would know my hidden thoughts and my secret motives. He would know my darkest shames and the impulses I hide even from myself. He’d know the good things I did for the wrong motives, and the wrong things I did with deliberate malice aforethought.
If that same God was not only good and just, but the very source of our concepts of Goodness and Justice, he wouldn’t remain good if he tolerated the way I treat others, the way I treat his creation, and the way I treat him.
Let me explain this with an everyday analogy:
We’ve all been in line at the shops and seen the interaction between a naughty kid and a too-tolerant mum. Before I became a mum myself, and realised just how hard a job it is, I’d be quick to judge that mum, thinking in my head of all the things I’d say in response to my child if he’d be so rude, so disobedient, so disrespectful.
Now, I quash those feelings pretty quickly – I’ve been there, just letting my 3 year old hit me in the face over and over while we wait in line at the checkout, knowing that the pain he’s causing me will be worse for others if I stop him and start him screaming at the top of his lungs in the middle of the supermarket. I don’t know what kind of day that mum has had, and I know I could be “that mum” in the supermarket tomorrow.
But the instinct is still there to judge the parent who doesn’t give their child the proper consequences for their behaviour.
If we expect parent to provide children with consequences when they go astray, why would we expect any less from God? Psalm 130:3 says
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?
I certainly couldn’t.
There’s a verse in 2 Corinthians that gives me great hope. It aknowledges my sin, my rebelling, every deep dark thought and action of my heart, but also shows me God’s plan for my forgiveness. Talking about Jesus, it says
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21
Some Bible scholars call this verse the “great exchange”. Jesus, the one without sin, takes on our sin in his body on the cross. If we trust in him, the God who sees all our ways and our paths, all our selfish disobedience, will also see that Jesus died to take the punishment we deserve.
This is the great good news of the Christian message, one that I have been trusting in for over 20 years. I hope you can trust in it, too.