Author Brittany-Fiscus van Rossum
Reflection: v. 31, ‘now is the judgement of the world’
Judgement is a word with baggage. If you grew up in a judgement-heavy religious tradition (or merely breathed some in second-hand), you may have some negative connotations with the concept of Jesus bringing judgement. I certainly did. ‘The church has got enough judging going on. I need God to be loving,’ my younger self often thought.
When I heard ‘judgement’ I thought of all the ways the church gets this wrong—the way our institutions have historically judged people for their gender-identity or sexual orientation, their race or religion. I feared how the church would judge me for my worst mistakes and my worst days and my worst thoughts if they knew them. Heck, church people will even judge you for what part of town you are from, the clothes on your back, or how you do your hair. But these surface level biases are not actually what ‘judgement’ is supposed to be about—and they are certainly not what God’s judgement is about. Judgement should always be married with justice—if it is not, it is probably just your bias rearing its ugly head. Judgement is ultimately what should lead us toward justice, and justice is what makes things right. So when Jesus says things like ‘now is the judgement of the world,’ we should sigh with relief that our God wants to make things right! And if the thought of judgement still sets us on edge? Then it’s possible we may need some inward turning and self-examination. It is possible we need to be kinder to ourselves and remember that the judgment of God is not the opinion of a mean church gossip nor the voice of your inner critic on her worst day. It is also possible that our resistance to God’s judgement is for fear of our own complicity in the un-just ways of our world—things we must all work to untangle ourselves from, day in and day out. But fear not! There is much to work on, but God’s judgement has come to set things right.
Prayer Bring your justice, O Lord, and set things right!