Every few years it seems like pop culture generates a new phrase. Most of the time I find these to be obnoxious but not harmful. Just a little annoying. Remember in the early 2000s when the answer to anything was Whatzzzzup. More recently we've been blessed with gems such as YOLO and You mad bro? The second of which I do not understand yet a year ago at a concert I saw at least 6 shirts with that on it.
However, I've been noticing a trend. Whether it's on the comments of a news article or the personal rants of a status update, there have been numerous outpourings of this phrase. If you've ever uttered this phrase, you are not alone. This has been something I've thought numerous times, until last night. When God all but yelled at me at the reality of what I was implying.
"I hope you get what's coming to you", "one day God will give you what you deserve", or "you'll get yours". Have you thought these things about someone? I have. More than once. If I'm especially upset I've even taken comfort in fact that God will judge people who have wronged me.
However last night I was struck with what the true implications of those phrases are. These phrases are basically saying, "I hope God unleashes His full judgement on you". What is God's full judgement and punishment? Eternity completely separated from the Creator of the Universe because of sin. Godly retribution is to turn His back on people that do not know Him.
I do not wish God's judgment on my life. I've read the Old Testament, I know Israel's history and God's anger towards them. The thought of even an iota of that judgement makes me quake. I deserve His judgement, but I have escaped it. I accepted Christ as my Savior and now I will never have to spend eternity separated from the Lord. Yet, I'm basically wishing that the Lord will not forgive people who have wronged me. To wish for them to never know the Lord and what He has in store for them. For that one mistake against me to be the deciding factor for their eternity.
If you read through the prophets in the Old Testament, you will see where the Lord consistently calls a warning to his people. However, before or after the warning, God calls His people to redemption. REPENT AND TURN FROM YOUR WAYS. God does not want to send people to hell. If He did, wouldn't it have been easier for Him to judge Cain when he killed Abel? Instead, God marked Cain so no one would kill him, to give him time to repent and turn towards God. If God wanted to unleash wrath upon us, why send His Son to die a brutal harsh death, experiencing the abandonment of God, so we could be forgiven? I don't know about you, but to me that sounds like drastic measures to give us a second chance.
Now that I have reevaluated that phrase I've begun to realize how truly hateful the implications are. Do I honestly wish that a former friend would spend eternity separate from God because we had a fight two years ago? Do I truly wish that hateful boss would go the rest of his life without learning of the redemptive powers of Christ? Am I really sitting at home hoping that family member I'm on the outs with will never experience God's love and fellowship?
The truth is Christ died for me the same He died for you. The white lie I told a bill collector was on the weight of His shoulders when God turned His back from Christ. The curse you yelled while driving to work was the same as the crowd shouting "crucify him". The murderer on death row was the reason Christ wore a crown of thorns. Howver, thankfully that's not the end of the story. Our eternities were the reason He arose and conquered death. I deserve it as much as you do, because NO ONE DESERVES IT. It is a free gift.
However, to wish that someone gets what's coming to them is to wish they never receive that gift. I should be so much more concerned with showing who Christ is, than to be wrapped up in personal vendettas. Because the truth is, we all deserve to be separated from Christ. The idea that someone might wish me to spend eternity in darkness is heart breaking.
I pray this might encourage you. That you would see how truly painful and damaging words can be. I hope this breaks your heart for the people that we've wished this upon. If together we consciously started changing our mindset towards sinners, how many people would come to know Christ's forgiveness through us? I encourage you to have an eternal mindset that will carry on into your relationships. To let the next transgression slide off of your back. To give second, third, and fourth chances. Because we serve a God of second chances, and I don't know about you, but I want to be as much like Him as possible.