Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Judging and The Judge
Chapter 11 in The Shack is entitled Here Come Da Judge.
The two quotes preceding the chapter:
Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods. Albert Einstein
Oh my soul, be prepared to meet Him who knows how to ask questions. T.S. Eliot
As I was reading The Shack, I kept wondering how the author would have the central character, Mackenzie, get unstuck. I think this chapter is the key. What a masterful way of handling the Biblical concepts that God is love and how evil is viewed and how God judges compared with how humans judge. Masterful!
Toward the bottom of page 155 –She sat back, beaming. "You are wise in the ways of real love, Mackenzie. So many believe that it is love that grows, but it is the knowing that grows and love simply expands to contain it. Love is just the skin of knowing."
To me, this really speaks to what I believe the Bible teaches, that when we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord, that we are born anew, i.e., that all His attributes are supernaturally given to us and the rest of our life is spent in the exciting adventure of knowing and growing in discovering all that He is and all that He has given us. Yes! I loved that phrase: it is the knowing that grows and love simply expands to contain it.
Sophia, personified wisdom, was presented incredibly. She asked questions, but they were gentle questions, not probing I'll get you to see type of questions. Mackenzie, while answering her questions, came to his own conclusions. I have friends who think that asking questions is the way to communicate. It's mine. But I am learning that there are ways to ask and there are certain questions that are really caring questions and not judging questions. Quite a difference.
Mackenzie comes to realize through Sophia's gentle persuasion that "Papa (God) has never needed evil to accomplish His good purposes. It is you humans who have embraced evil and Papa has responded with goodness."
The paragraph in the middle of page 165 is perhaps wisdom's call to us all. "Return from your independence, Mackenzie. Give up being his judge and know Papa for who he is. Then you will be able to embrace his love in the midst of your pain, instead of pushing him away with your self-centered perception of how you think the universe should be."
When Mack came to the place he realized he was judging God and thereby was acting as God when he judged others, he says on page 165, "I don't want to be a judge any more. I really do want to trust Papa. ... But I'll need help."
Sophia's response: "Now that sounds like the start of the trip home."
Is that not wisdom beyond words?!
Stop judging and trust. Know that God loves me and will never leave me. Trust Him. Let go of all the judging that shows that I think I know better and how much better I would do it. This is an unbelievable foundation on which to live my life. It is changing me daily.
I was captured by the truths set forth in this chapter and the way in which they were presented. I realized that I don't often read the Bible, pray, or communicate with God with a soft, receiving heart, but perhaps with an anxious, judging spirit. What am I doing wrong? What more do I need to do? How can I be better? I thought the spirit of Mack's meeting with Sophia overall was a great dramatization and revelation of a very different sense of a human being's interaction with God, with Papa, with wisdom.