We have come to a point in our history when the idea of judgment is considered an obscene concept. ‘Don’t judge me!’ has become a universal catch-all preventing any kind of accountability or evaluation. Paradoxically, this has occurred while the media has declared itself the watchdog of justice and punishment. Inherent in this blanket attitude is a confusing of the very different concepts of judging situations (part of being human) and judging people (which needs to be limited to those who must render judgment).
When it comes to God, a lot depends on whether you believe in His existence. If God is there and God is God, then He has a right and an obligation to judge us. Judge is a heavy legal term to use, I know. We can perhaps change our perspectives on the issue if we recall that any loving parent evaluates the behavior of their children and, if the child is doing something destructive, the parent will feel honor bound to point that out since he or she wants their child to be all that the child can be. God is the same except He loves us with an even greater love than our parents! “Even if father or mother abandon you, I will never abandon you!” So God’s judgment is a necessary form of love. To ignore bad behavior on the part of His children would reveal to us a very bad Parent in God.
There is something else as well. Judgment is accountability, and that means that one expects good behavior. We honor a child when we see them behaving well and we hold them accountable for their good and their bad ways of acting. God honors us in holding us accountable. God says by His judging us: Your behavior matters. You are important to me and to the world and what you do is not just written off, whether good or bad. This explains by extension the importance of God’s wrath. This is a concept that we are very uncomfortable with. Wrath implies God going off the handle, losing it! It has a veneer and feel of violence to it. But what loving parent would just yawn at the bad behavior of their child, especially when it is repeated over and over again! If they did, the child would rightly infer that their parents don’t care what they do. And if the parents don’t care what they do, then maybe they don’t care about their child at all. Sometimes a child will do something bad just to get their parents attention, and if it just produces a yawn they experience a deep and terrifying emptiness. Punishment of the child in a medicinal, non-violent manner is a sign of concern and therefore love. Parents want to correct the child and teach them proper behavior, not out of pique or pride or a vain quest for order, but as something meant to help the child be a better person.
Often people refer to God as judge in a very negative way. In this line of thinking, God is just a nice guy in the sky who wants us to be good, but who will do nothing to teach us about why our bad behavior is, in fact, bad and what the advantages are if one were to be good. This view of God is not biblical and is actually a picture of an unfeeling and ineffectual bystander to the human condition.
The atheistic belief that there is no God and there is no judgment is often held as liberation for the human being by the militant yet non-rational atheists of today. These are the same people who tout Marx’s dictum that religion is the opium of the people. Frankly, the lack of accountability in their worldview is the opium of the atheists who subsequently have no basis for goodness and no alternative to self-interest as a motivating factor.
I am glad that God judges my behavior. I am happy that when I do something destructive to my neighbor or myself, He is angry with me. It would make me cringe to think of a permissive god who does not care if I do right or wrong, who hides in a cloud of indifference. Yes, I want to be judged by God because God loves me more than anyone and He has my best interests always in mind. In a word: I trust Him.