Focus Scripture: Matthew 18:10-14
Does it sometimes seem that God delights in judging people? It certainly seems like sometimes Christians or pastors delight in judging people, or threatening them with eternal damnation. After the ruling legalizing marriage equality--threats of God's judgment about to rain down. After a major disaster, preachers expounding that here it is, God's judgment raining down. the earthquake in Haiti, some pastors said, was proof of God's judgment, Hurricane Katrina, proof of God's judgment. I even remember pastor's claiming that AIDS was proof of God's judgment. Heck, I've even heard of pastors threaten their congregations that if they don't vote "right" (and I won't dignify who they defined "right" by spelling it out here), they would suffer God's judgment and risk eternal damnation.
What a breath of fresh air Jesus is.
"In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish." Mt 18:14. Did you catch it?
Your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these . . . should perish."
God is not anxious to judge us. God does not will us to be judged. God does not will us to be apart from God, or to be lost. God does not delight in threats or suffering.
God rejoices over every lost sheep who is found. God delights in forgiving our debts (verse 27). Our God is a God of compassion who forgives us. That is what God wills for us.
Our Father, what a blessing it is to know that you are a forgiving God who loves us. May your will, that we not perish, be done. For your love, your forgiveness and your compassion, we give you thanks. In the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.