For so long orthodox theology has placed a deep seated fear in people's heart for judgment day. I want to give you peace in regards to this. I've spoken with my wife, my mom and other people. The topic of judgment typically leads to either one of two feelings (or worse, both) fear, or self righteousness.
Neither is the purpose of God's judgment.
This is what my mother wrote in regards to judgment;
If you or anyone stands before a righteous and just God on Judgement day and the truth of the matter is you are lacking because you frittered your life away on worldly pleasures instead of engaging with people and relationships as God calls us to do, I don't think that person will be rejoicing. I think they will feel the disappointment of not living up to Gods standard. I don't have to judge other people now or ever , Hallelujah, thats His job! I just want to be hearing Him say to me "Well Done".
This is not the proper way to look at judgment. She's not alone, in this kind of thinking. Many Christians out there think that this is the way it's supposed to be. We are so geared from childhood to seek the approval of our parents. It's only natural to believe that God is going to be like this. Unfortunately, we don't see the negative aspect of this attitude - that while we may be exalted and approved, the others are going to be condemned and cast away.
God's judgment is not going to be a place of condemnation. We need to remember, our God is a God who created us specifically to lavish his love upon us and every single purpose from the day of man's creation up until the close of the eons is to benefit mankind. Even judgment will benefit those being judged.
First off, we need to realize there is nothing that we can do to be better than anyone else. We are the clay in God's hands. Nothing is our own achievement.
Remember Pharaoh of Egypt, who persecuted the Israelites? He did not do so of his own will.
... For I Myself have hardened his heart and the hearts of his courtiers so that I may set these My signs among them, and that you may relate in the ears of your son, and your son's son, that which I set in action in Egypt, and My signs which I placed among them, that you will know that I am Yahweh.
God himself hardened the Pharaoh's heart. The persecution of the Israelites was not the design of egyptians but God's own design so that He could teach the Israelites to seek God's help. God is in control, and this is the lesson God is teaching us through all of history. This is the reason we're here. That evil exists, and the most important thing we need to lay hold of. God is in control.
5 Woe, Assyria! club of My anger! And a rod is he in the day of My indignation!
6 Against a polluted nation shall I send him, And against a people of My rage shall I commission him, To loot loot and to plunder plunder, And to make it a tramping ground like the clay of the streets.
7 Yet he is not planning so, And his heart is not devising so, For it is in his heart to exterminate, And to cut off nations, not a few.
Years later Israel was to be shattered, 10 tribes were to be scattered throughout the world and only 2 to remain in the Holy Land. In order to accomplish this God used the King of Assyria to shatter Israel. The King of Assyria woke up that morning honestly wanting to get corn flakes and watch the latest game in the courtyard, God had other plans. He changed the King's heart to go to war against God's own people in order to accomplish God's plans.
12 So it will come to pass that Yahweh shall complete all His work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem. Then I shall visit evil on the fruit of the insolent heart of the king of Assyria And on the vaunting high haughtiness of his eyes.
13 For he has said: By the vigor of my hand I did it , And by my wisdom, for I have understanding; So I am taking away the boundaries of peoples, And their equippings have I robbed, And I am bringing down those who sit like a sturdy one .
14 My hand is finding the estate of the peoples, as in a nest, And as one gathers forsaken eggs, So do I gather the entire earth, And there is no wing ruffling,Or mouth opening wide and chirping.
15 Shall the ax vaunt it self over the one hewing with it? Should the mace magnify it self over the one swinging it? As if a club should swing the one raising it up! As if a rod should raise him up who is not wood!
Later the King of Assyria exalts himself, believing HE has accomplished all this. God does not judge him for his actions, He judges him for his ATTITUDE.
30 For even as you once were stubborn toward God, yet now were shown mercy at their stubbornness,
31 thus these also are now stubborn to this mercy of yours, that now they also may be shown mercy.
32 For God locks up all together in stubbornness, that He should be merciful to all.
33 O, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways!
We likewise are no better. We are exactly like the King of Assyria. God uses us and we do all things according to HIS will. That time you worked in the soup kitchen? God used you to do that. That time you kicked that kid in the face in the school yard? God used you to do that. God is in control of everything in your life. You simply have the illusion that you are in control and God blesses you with that.
God controls all of us, and leads us into an understanding of his mercy. This is the purpose behind it all. So we fathom how helpless we are, and need Him. Unfortunately, not all of us will understand this when this life is over. THAT is what the judgment is for. For God to expose our hearts and fix it.
Judgment is corrective, not condemning. He corrects the attitudes of our hearts.
How can it be condemning? God's righteousness has already been satisfied by the blood of Christ. He is conciliated towards us, there is peace now. Jesus' sacrifice at the cross has brought salvation to ALL mankind.
13 Yet now, in Christ Jesus, you, who once are far off, are become near by the blood of Christ.14 For He is our Peace, Who makes both one, and razes the central wall of the barrier
15 (the enmity in His flesh), nullifying the law of precepts in decrees, that He should be creating the two, in Himself, into one new humanity, making peace;
16 and should be reconciling both in one body to God through the cross, killing the enmity in it.
Judgment is GOOD NEWS!!!