Jesus reveals the Father. Jesus shows us the nature and character of God. Jesus is God and is the way to God. Jesus is the truth about God. Jesus is the life of God expressed in the perfect human form. Jesus is the Love of God expressed in perfect harmony with the triune nature of the community of God. Jesus is what the goodness of God looks like if God was human. Jesus is the forgiveness of God shining through the retribution of mankind. Jesus is the final word on the restorative nature of God. Jesus is God at the hands of angry mankind willing to let us kill Him because we are so blind and stumbling around in the darkness. God was (and still is) willing to be the scapegoat to let us have our way and show us beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is not retribution. If He was, then surely He would get some retributive justice for us killing His innocent son, Himself on a cross, don’t you think?
We fallen humans, in our good-bad retributive judgment paradigm, have created an image of God that is the stuff of mythology and Greek cosmology. We have projected our insistence on balance and cosmic jurisprudence on the face of a God who only wants His kids to come home. All we have to do is look to Jesus and we can see Him crying out to His children. He wants to set us free from our insistence on human delusions of judicial balance. Our need to see someone pay is our fear and weakness and insecurities and darkness and death bubbling up from our deepest anxiety. Jesus sets us free from all that. He absolutely and unequivocally shows us who we already are. We are just like Him and can live just like Him if we can just know we are God’s children just like Him. It just isn’t that complicated. It is really simple but can be hard. We want to hang on to our payback mentality. We want to see people punished for their offenses against us. We want to see people feel remorse and unworthiness and shame and guilt. Why? Because WE ARE FULL OF IT. Jesus yanks that trash out of our fallen nature and restores us to God’s original intent and design………if we will just let Him.
One of the keys to unlocking the door of subjective redemption experienced is “seeing” God as the restorative justice God. He is the restorative judge. He is the one that will do whatever it takes to have us step into our identity as the Jesus human. He will actually use a refiners fire to melt us into the components of us. In the hottest fire we will find ourselves as gold and silver with dross floating on top. The dross have to go. It is not part of us. What are the dross? Hatred, exclusion, division, anger, deception, guilt, shame, offenses and more. It is all the stuff of a fallen human way of thinking and living that excludes the restorative nature of a loving God.
Want to know what “hell” looks like? Standing in front of a loving Father who wants all His kids in His lap and insisting that “they” can’t be here. Think about it.
So what about a passage like this one?
Matt 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. (ESV)
or this one?
Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (ESV)
OK, shed your old way of thinking for a moment and use your mind of Christ. What do you see?
If we judge with a retributive lens then don’t you suppose that our insistence on retribution is the very thing that is our hell? If God is completely and totally restorative in His very nature, what will it look like for a retributive person (who just can’t let it go) standing in the presence of complete and absolute restorative Love? God is saying “let it go Indy” and we are screaming for our fallen human understanding of justice.
“How can you say the brother Lance?”
Look at Jesus. Please look at Him and see God. What kind of God, the creator of the universe, the wisdom of all things, the WORD become flesh, would let His creation kill Him just because they were pissed off and selfish and disillusioned and blind and angry and hostile towards a God who did not fit their image of God? Who does that? Jesus does. What God lets His children take out their wrath on Him? Our Father. What God has no desire for retribution? The one who dies on a cross at the hands of lost “sinners.” What God will always and forever and ever forgive anything we do against Him? The God who is the perfect expression of a loving human and lets mankind kill Him for no good reason other than their own blindness.
We have to learn to think differently……. Not vengeance but virtue. Not punishment but provision. Not chastised but corrected. Not beatings but beatitudes. Not handcuffs but handouts. Not starvation but supplication. Not harassment but humility. Go the extra mile. Give them your coat. Forgive them no matter what. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. Be willing to do what He did on the cross. Let the punitive persistence of a fallen mind beat you and mock you and kill you while you love them. This is the way of God we see in Jesus. This is the truth of God we see in Jesus. This is the life of God we see in Jesus. When we see Jesus we see the Father. When we see the Father we come to know the Father. When we know the Father we are experiencing a timeless life that transcends the boundaries of a mortal existence. God is restoring us to His reality in Jesus.
Can you see? Can you understand now why the “four spiritual laws” and “the way of the master” are anti-Jesus? Can you see now that wielding retributive justice as hammer, with God as the enforcer, is not at all in any way Jesus and therefore not God? I hope you can begin to get a glimpse of this loving God who is so amazing and beautiful and full of mercy and grace and restorative justice.
John 12:48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.
Let me leave you with a parting thought, call it an experiment.
When we ate the forbidden fruit it really messed us up but in some way the “judgment mechanism” was necessary. God even said “they are like us now so they should be limited in their lifespan to 120 years.” What was “good” about eating the forbidden fruit? Could it be that the ability to “judge” was necessary for our development as divinely inspired and imaged humans? Could it be that our ability to discern good and evil was a stepping stone to being more like Jesus, or original and intended design? Is is possible that our judgment, when applied like God would, is a good thing? If I see myself as a restorative participant with Jesus, can’t I use my good-bad as a way of “seeing” where healing can be applied? Can’t I see with the good-bad and know that “this or that” is destructive to someone? When I know that I know that God is trying to set us free from those destructive things, can’t I work with Him to see them set free? Can’t you see that if you are stuck in retributive justice you will never ever see a way to help? You become a g.o.d. of your own making using a mythological g.o.d. as your lighting bolt backup?
So yes, judge not lest you be judged. See His restorative nature and participate in the reconciliation of Jesus. He paid a huge price TO US so we would “see” Him as He is. I think it is time that we put down our gavels and picked up our bread basket. There are hungry people everywhere that just need to meet their Father. There are lost people everywhere that just need to know their Abba.