Does Punishment Really Have Anything to Do With Justice?

Upon one occasion, Jesus told a parable in which there was a father who had two sons, and the younger of the sons approached his father to receive his share of the inheritance before his time, and he took it off in a far land, wasted it, and was living in utter misery, upon which he came to himself and returned to his father, begging to be made a servant in his father’s household, but his father took him back as his son saying, “This son of mine was dead, but now he is alive,” and far from holding any consequences or punishment over his head, threw a great feast in celebration of his returning. The elder son, however, refused to take part in the feast, unhappy that his younger brother was being taken back into the household without any account of his wrong-doing being taken.

On another occasion, Jesus told a parable in which a man went out to hire workers early in the morning and promised them a daily worker’s wage. Again and again, he went out and hired workers for his vineyard at every hour, and he gave to all the same wage, whether they had worked all day or for only an hour.

This is the One I worship and adore, the One I take as my Lord. I do not understand why a lot of people seem to think that, depending on how well one has lived one’s life, one will have more or less honor or reward in Heaven, or why people want to think that, depending on how much one has sinned, one will have to spend more or less long in torment before one can experience Heaven. I cannot now recall the exact words, or in which of his written sermons they are found, but George MacDonald wrote something to the extent that it is well possible that one who has committed many and grievous sins will have to suffer but little before he comes to repentance in the realization of Love and enters into bliss, while someone who has committed far fewer or lesser sins, because of the nature of the flaws in him, may have to suffer far more before he purifies himself. Perhaps, not unlike how in the first parable mentioned above, the son who squandered his inheritance is received back into his sonship – which, from the father’s view, he never lost – with no shadow of his wrong being left, is accepted as soon as he returns, while the other son excludes himself.

The love of my Lord embraces all. There is no limit to His forgiveness. All are included. All are forgiven. There is no vengeance, no retribution, no wrath, no punishment at all. Anyone who wishes to come and drink of the living waters may. The only ones who are excluded are those who exclude themselves, may there be none who forever exclude themselves, and may the day come speedily when all that are dead hear His voice and live! All that is required is that a person know that Love is Lord, that therefore there is nothing to be feared and death is conquered, and to accept that Love and repent of all actions and all attitudes that are not of Love but of fear and anger, and intend to do her best to right those wrongs in whatever ways she may. Then comes bliss, then comes freedom, and there is no reason why this knowledge and repentance must take any amount of time at all! There is no reason why even those who are guilty of the most horrendous of sins, Soviet torturers, Mao, child rapists, serial murderers, whatever it be, should not see the glory of Love and repent in a moment – and then, the torment is over, the bliss and the restoration of all things begins, justice reigns supreme!

This is my vision! This is my longing! This is the Good News I preach! The love of my Lord is limitless – if such turning from evil towards Love is not so immediate, I do not believe that Love, which never gives up and never fails, will ever turn from the sinner or abandon the sinner to torment, so it may be that it takes a long time for some to be healed, but I see no reason why it must!

There is no account of sins. There is no holding of sins against a person. There is no condemnation. There is only the Lord of Love, who ever and inexorably endeavors to heal us, and all creation, of all the things that plague us, all the things that cause us grief or cause us to be a grief to others. There is no distinguishing between persons, only the judgment that shows us truth – that Love is Lord – and leads us into participation in that truth and bliss. There is no judgment but the Way of Life.


Copyright 2021 Raina Nightingale

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