God’s Everyday Judgment

God’s Everyday Judgment

some insomniac musings by The Overlord Bear/Jem De Ocampo

You know how some people go “Only God can judge me?”

Let’s say that only God can judge me.

Now I remember that I’m a temple of the Holy Spirit. You’re a temple of the Holy Spirit. Every one of us human beings is a temple of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit, one of the Three Divine Persons, is God Almighty.

Maybe those temples aren’t usually well-maintained by the souls they’re entrusted to, but God lives despite and even through that. Thus, God can judge me, and He can judge me every single moment of my life. He might not be working through one person, but He certainly is working through many other people. No, not just many other people. Every single person in the world. And whether I like it or not, I’m sure that even the worst of the worst people also counts among “every single person in the world.”

I like to think that I understand the popular attempts to say “Only God can judge me” like they can justify our sins. Pride blinds us everyday, and even a Roman Catholic like me struggles with it. We work hard, expecting a reward for our efforts, which we usually assume is good work, refusing to accept that we have blindness we need to overcome with God’s help. With our pride, we even think that God’s help does not welcome humans at all. In Old Testament terms, we’re like the Hebrews who wished to return to Egyptian slavery, even making and worshipping a golden calf in the face of further challenges God gave us to better prove our faith. In New Testament terms, we’re like the Jews who expected the Crucified Jesus to get Himself off the Cross He was meant to be nailed to for our sake, even having Him suffer in the hands of the conquering Romans as well. We think of ourselves as victims, and it is true that we are victims one way or another, but we refuse to believe that we can be perpetrators at the same time. Indeed, this is evidence of pride and its manifestations not being limited to positive egoism alone. Whether positive or negative, egoism leads to egotism. Thinking that it’s all about me leads to me thinking that I’m above everyone else, God Almighty included. Even if I did suffer the worst the world has to throw at me, I am not the only victim of such things, and I can inflict damage that’s even worse than what I suffered. Sure, we can call that something to be proud of. And sure, we can be united with pride. But we never need pride at all, though we still cling to it even as we know and even condemn the great damages it has inflicted upon humanity.

It’s funny how we try to doll up the word “pride,” too. “We shouldn’t be proud of ourselves.” “Now let’s be proud of this person and that person.” “Your pride is reasonable.” “Your pride is excessive.” The way we use it, it’s like we think that it’s a slur we can appropriate into something better. But it’s not a slur. It’s not something that we should use to put ourselves down, especially not when self-loathing is another form of pride. The truth is that, well, it’s a piece of the painful truth about us humans, and the truth sets us free, no matter how painful it is. We tend to be proud, and it’s not supposed to be a good thing. Maybe it can seem awesome, but it’s more worthwhile to laugh at it, right? And we even dare to say that pride comes before a fall while clinging to our foolish tendencies toward pride! Praise and thanks be to God that we can be better people, then, because if He really is only like us foolish humans, then our belief in us humans being incorrigible will certainly and unfortunately be quite reasonable!

Again, I like to think that I understand the popular protests against thoughts like these, prideful those protests may be. We think that we don’t need authorities because we usually don’t have fair experiences with the humans our perfect God and/or us imperfect humans entrusted authority to. Or we think that only our selves know who the right authorities and the wrong authorities are. We think that that’s enough of a reason to consider what’s wrong right. But whether we like to admit it out loud or not, we end up remembering the need for authority and other people through more of us humans’ faults, and our attempts to reconcile that with our pride, which focuses on whether or not we deserve blessings and not on how we can and should be blessings, lead to our pride transforming from self-importance to self-hatred, which also pretends to be martyrdom, an actually honorable thing that is done with more happiness and humility than we tend to think.

Certainly, we cannot deny that we foolish humans have done wrong, whether big or small. We even need to talk about it. But to accept the truth and talk about our potential for sin without accepting the truth and talking about our potential for virtue will only result in a vain conversation. Neither our sinfulness nor our virtuousness should be exaggerated or downplayed. Though I do understand our tendency to consider a truly fair and therefore God-given judgment pretty unbelievable. But that further proves stuff like how faith is an essential in human life and how faith and reason are supposed to work together. I mean, we don’t see to believe. We see what we believe. It sounds like the same thing, but there’s actually quite a difference between them. For example, we don’t believe that we foolish humans can be good beings because we foolish humans see ourselves doing good acts. We see that we foolish humans can be good beings because we believe that we foolish humans can be good beings. And now that I think about it some more, the mindset of postmodern society is actually pretty close to that, but postmodern society fails with its mindset because it considers humanity, especially the self, above everyone and everything, God Almighty included.

Fortunately, God can make something better out of postmodernism too. With Him, the imperfect and ugly image of humanity, beings which He created in His image and likeness, can be seen as something hiding a perfect and wonderful truth we usually refuse to believe, and that truth is God Almighty. Even as we humans ourselves dirty and ruin His temple, He keeps on delivering not only just but also merciful judgment through us as long as we have room for Him to do so, and trust me, He always has a lot of room. And if you want more proof of His merciful justice, consider also Jesus talking about how the King at the Judgment of the Nations would tell those going to heaven why they’re going to heaven, and Jesus talks about that before going on about the King telling those going to hell why they’re going to hell (Matthew 25:31-46). And sure, we’re not at the Final Judgment yet, and I don’t think we can say when exactly that’ll happen, but there never will be a time when we do not face God’s judgment. Still, He always makes fair judgments, even as our usual spiritual blindness makes us struggle to understand them, and any fair judgments we foolish humans make are ultimately because of Him who is love. Any unfair judgments…well, considering how we’re usually so desperate for credit, maybe we should just appreciate how that’s something we foolish humans can take credit for!

But seriously, there’s no need for self-importance and self-hatred, which lead to obsession for others and God Almighty and hatred against others and God Almighty. And self-importance is not self-love. Self-importance would just cycle into self-hatred, which would cycle into self-importance, and so on and so forth. Self-love, meanwhile, comes along with loving others and loving God. Not before, not after, but at the same time. For how can one love the self without loving other humans and God Almighty, who are among the essentials of our selves? And how can one love others and God Almighty without loving our selves, who are essentials to our fellow humans and to God Almighty who also lived as a human?

And now, I think I know what self-love truly is: Self-love is not believing that the self can do whatever the self wants. Self-love is believing that the self can do good according to the will of God Almighty despite and even through the self’s lowliness.

Indeed, we human beings long to love well and be loved well, to treasure well and be treasured well. And by the grace of God Almighty, we can love well and be loved well, and we can treasure well and be treasured well. If we look at our capability there with the eyes of a worldly human, we’ll only see an insatiable void we’d despairingly doll up with things like entitlement and relativism to hide how it can never give us true love.

So goes God’s everyday judgment of humanity. It’s way better than we think, but of course, it’s never a reason to slack off. Praise and thanks be to God Almighty very much again, and may He keep on helping us all.

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