(February 11)

“…Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Mt 25: 41-46)

Here are some thoughts for anyone who, like me, has failed to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, offer welcome to the stranger, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned. How could I justify myself before God, were I to pass away today? I couldn’t, and I shouldn’t. If I’ve got nothing before God, I appeal to Him as did the tax-collector, with his nothing, “God, have mercy on me, the sinner!” Or at least as did the prodigal son to his father, with no sense of entitlement: “I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants!

And here’s another “get-out-of-jail-free card” God offers to me: Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. So, let me let things go today, even long-standing resentments and grudges, because God calls me to do for others what I want Him to do for me, – to forgive a whole lot of “debt” just like that, in exchange for nothing.

Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” Lord, and help us let go of the pointlessness of self-justification and merely-human judgment. For Thine is the kingdom, the power, the glory, and, indeed, the judgment. Amen!