Jesus has taught us that there’s a definitive standard – love defined as love of God and love of neighbour – by which we will all be judged.
But don’t be complacent about God’s love… and be careful of presumption…
Because this love is of a much higher standard than most people realize. Remember Jesus’ teaching that his new standard is higher than the old; love your enemies.
Or the widow who put in one small coin. She put in more than all the others although the others put in much bigger amounts… because she gave everything she had.
He’s indicating different levels of love… which correspond to different levels in the next life, in the kingdom of God.
When Jesus speaks about love he really means all-consuming charity, charity that no longer experiences even a hint of self denial. He’s not really thinking about romantic love.
So be careful… sometimes people use Jesus emphasis on love to include stuff that may be contrary to Jesus intentions; may be contrary. Some TV personalities are quite adept at this!
Here’s a good illustration of the inner dynamics of judgement; suppose I’m buying a car. For many it’s an ordinary enough event and few would even relate it to God. But for others it’s far from an everyday event. I could splash out 20,000 or 50,000 or even 80,000. What we do not suspect is that we’ll relive that choice – and every other choice – from within the standard of God’s love at the moment of our judgement; how did I love God and how did I love my neighbour in these choices?
In our judgment we’ll see what we actually did with what we had, and what we could have done – and much of it will be stuff that we don’t even connect with God, stuff that we might call “business” or “the market” or some other name whereby we remove whole areas of our lives from God, as if God could be excluded, but seeing what we could have done, but didn’t do, at this level – in the presence of God – is actually pure punishment.
So while we might think that a man or woman has been successful, that same success may prove their downfall at the moment of their judgement.
The criteria of judgment will always be; how did I love God and love my neighbour in my everyday choices and no area of human life, endeavour or enterprise escapes God’s attention.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus taught that the poor are blessed? Partly, because they avoid this responsibility and thus they avoid this kind of judgement. But that’s only part of the reason.
The bigger part is how success, more often than not, deceives and empowers our small ego lives into choking our need for big life, for God.
But that’s another day’s work!