Judgment, the concept that everything will be set right in the universe eventually, is a fundamental truth about the God of the Bible. But through the years that concept has inspired both dread and anticipation. We asked readers to respond to this question: Judgment: What comes to mind when you hear that word? Share your response in one or two sentences. Is it positive, negative, neither, both?—Editors
There are definitely Scripture reasons to fear judgment, not least of which is the three angels’ messages (Rev. 14:6-12). However, there is also reason to look forward to judgment, because it will be “made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time [comes] for the saints to possess the kingdom” (Dan. 7:22, NKJV).
Something that is God’s job, not mine.
"Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).
Think of judgment as a balance (weighing device), where the good is weighed with the bad, similar to a court of law. Jesus tilts the balance in our favor.
The judgment is highly positive; it’s very good news. This awful mess we humans are in will come to a welcomed end. Then all will be made well forever!
Our Judge is also our Advocate.
Negative. Whether that means people judging me unfairly, or God’s judgment, for which I’m unprepared.
Getting whatever we deserve. It’s positive for some; but, sadly, negative for most.
Positive: accountability and justice. All that is wrong will be made right.
If we have nothing to fear, judgment will bypass us. Even in the final judgment, Jesus will show His scars, letting us go free. It’s the same as keeping our receipts in case the Internal Revenue Service calls for an audit. That box and its contents will set us free.
Who is doing the judging, by whose standards, and by whose authority? Are these standards those with which I agree, by an authority with whom I have mutuality?
A final, irreversible determination: guilty/not guilty.
God hates sin. But He sent Christ to be our substitute. When God judges Christ, He judges those who accept Him. Even the Flood was merciful. God protected the last of our race from oblivion.
Someone has to answer for an awful lot of pain and suffering in the world. I need to know why an all-powerful, all-loving God did nothing about it promptly. I’m not so much a doubter, but I would like some clarification.
A decision or ruling made after careful examination of the evidence.
Judgment is good news! All the wrongs ever committed during the history of the earth will be made right.
Jared, West Virginia
In court you pray for a prudent judge to make considered decisions. We express appreciation to our loving God who gives His grace so that we have a chance of reaching heaven.
Judgment is truth brought to the point of crisis and tested. What remains is established forever.
You’re driving down the interstate at the speed limit. You see a patrol car in the median. You tap the brakes, because human beings inherently fear judgment.
I’m a mess, but He is not. I’m inadequate, but He is not. His love, patience, and mercy are forever. We may be surprised by who shows up in the kingdom and who doesn’t. I may be surprised to see myself there.
Because we are sinful people, it’s easy to fear God’s judgment. But when we look at it from God’s point of view, we realize it’s a time when He rejoices, celebrates, and enjoys the company of those who have chosen Him.
The word has some rather scary and negative connotations. Christians judge other Christians; non-Christians judge Christians. But when it’s judgment by God, the outcome is guaranteed to be a good one.
My mind goes from the quick decision (judgment) I must make to avoid a collision, to the harsh criticism given to many who have not yet matured the way I think they should. Fortunately, I settled on the merciful action of our loving God, determining whether or not we would be delighted to spend forever in His presence.
It’s positive. It means the end of sin and suffering forever, and the beginning of unimaginable peace and joy.
Monique, North Carolina
Judgment from God: loving, compassionate, forgiving, gentle, accepting. Judgment from others: damning, rejecting, condemning, unforgiving.
Not my job, thankfully. I’m glad it’s in God’s hands, not in other people’s hands.
*Bible texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.