When have you been surprised to realize that you had a personal impact on someone's experience of heaven or hell, of grace or violence?
What consequences of the previous generation impact your life and the world today? What are the actions of your generation that you lament for their eventual impact on future generations?
The time has come for judging the dead, for rewarding your servants... And for destroying those who destroy the earth." - Revelation 11:18 (NIV)
I know it's not a very liberal or progressive notion. I know it doesn't jibe with the belief that all of our sins, evils, and injustices are nullified by the grace and agape love of God.
But I still can't bring myself to believe that a life dedicated to love and justice is essentially no different than a life fostered by bigotry and violence.
Even in the face of eventual repentance, there are consequences for the choices we make in life. And those consequences are not just existential or pertaining to our human lifespan. Our life choices also carry eternal consequences.
What Adam and Eve decided to do in the garden of Eden had consequences far beyond the stories and mythologies of creation.
What the German Nazis decided to do in the 1930s and '40s had consequences far beyond their lifetimes in Europe.
What the American Rebels decided to do at the battle of Lexington in 1775 had consequences that are yet unfolding today.
What Rosa Parks decided to do on a southern segregated bus in 1955 had consequences that have impacted lives far beyond her own life in Montgomery, Alabama.
The choices of these and countless others are still being judged and evaluated against the facts of the past and the possibilities of the future.
Someone has speculated that we will spend eternity facing the consequences of the choices we make in life. Those choices and consequences will determine heaven or hell; rejoicing or gnashing of teeth.
That may sound depressing to some, but it's motivation for me.
Guide my mind Lord, while I run this race. Amen.