One day we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. How would we like him to judge us? Our answer may be personal but I will describe what I hope for. I accept that the picture will be patchy. I have done some good things and some bad things – but mostly things in between. So I hope that God will start by looking on such good things as I may have done. I would rather that he left the bad things for later. I would prefer that he saw me as a good person on the whole; I simply slipped a bit from time to time.
When he comes to my bad things I want him to be understanding. Then he will look for all the pressures and the instincts which have driven me in the wrong direction. He will search for every reason, compatible with the truth, to excuse or at least reduce my fault. I would hope that he was prepared to go to extremes in order to get me into Heaven. He will only refuse me if I maintain my obstinate determination towards evil. Then reluctantly he will accept my free will to depart from him.
If I make the grade I will become very aware that I need a good clean up. I now know how far I fall short of his goodness. So I will go cheerfully to the washing machine called Purgatory because I am now determined to be clean and shining for the Beatific Vision.
Your own wishes for your judgement day will not be identical to mine, but I suspect they will be similar. Perhaps one day, when the angels pause their music, we will all get together and compare notes.
Having thought about that, it comes to my mind that we may spend a good deal of time judging others – from our parents, to our siblings, to our teachers and our school fellows, to our spouses, to our colleagues and to all our friends. I dare even to suggest to our fellow contributors on this Blog. Do we judge them in the same way as we hope God will judge us? Are we mainly focusing on their good qualities, and attempting to understand and forgive their faults? Do we look first at what they do right and secondly, even reluctantly, note their failures? Are we determined to see them as good people, as far as we possibly can?
Why am I asking these questions? In fact it is not me who is asking, it is God who is asking. When God taught us how to pray he was specific: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We cannot expect God to judge us more mercifully than we judge others.