Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
“And by what we have left undone”… yup, that right there. It’s bad enough when I consider the things I’m fully aware of doing- the snippy, unkind words that spew out my mouth when I’m mad, for example. But once I start thinking of all the things I should be doing, I can feel my head spin.
In Preparing for Easter by C.S. Lewis, my yearly go-to for Lenten devotions, today’s entry made think of that part of the confession:
We pray for God to deliver us ‘in the hour of death and at the day of judgement’. Christian art and literature for centuries have depicted its terrors. This note in Christianity certainly goes back to the teaching of Our Lord Himself; especially to the terrible parable of the Sheep and the Goats. This can leave no conscience untouched, for in it the ‘Goats’ are condemned entirely for their sins of omission; as if to make us fairly sure that the heaviest charge against each of us turns not upon the things he has done but on those he never did—perhaps never dreamed of doing.
But don’t panic:
It was therefore with great surprise that I first noticed how the Psalmists talk about the judgements of God. They talk like this; ‘O let the nations rejoice and be glad, for thou shalt judge the folk righteously’ (Ps. 67:4), ‘Let the field be joyful . . . all the trees of the wood shall rejoice before the Lord, for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth’ (Ps. 96:12, 13). Judgement is apparently an occasion of universal rejoicing. People ask for it: ‘Judge me, O Lord my God, according to thy righteousness’ (Ps. 35:24).
Rejoice in judgement? Yes! We can rejoice in knowing that God is a Righteous Judge. He knows our wrongs- the done and undone- and is fair and just to forgive His children all the same.