The Scales Myth — Friday, 1st Week of Lent

In ancient myths and modern imagination, the judgement of our lives will be done with a pair of scales, with our good deeds one one side and our bad on the other.  If our good deeds outwiegh the bad ones (so the story goes) then we’re in good shape.  If not, we’re toast. However, our first reading from the prophet Ezekiel shows that this not how God judges things.

If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced.

And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil, the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does, can he do this and still live? None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered, because he has broken faith and committed sin; because of this, he shall die.

God is more interested in where we’re headed than where we’ve been. This is encouraging good news for the long-time sinner who needs to repent and it is a warning to us who have done well in the past.  It’s not what we’ve done in the past that matters, because each of us can make a definitive turn toward or away from the Lord today.

What advantage then do we who are faithful to the Lord have over those who have deathbed conversions, over those steal heaven like the good thief on his cross next to Jesus? Very much indeed, for our lives’ holiness and good deeds will be weighed and our personal degree of heavenly glory and reward will be measured out accordingly. In heaven we shall all be filled and satisfied, but those who love most in this life shall enjoy the most love in the next.

So whether you are far from God or serving Him faithfully, heed these holy words: “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

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