Mondays with MacDonald (on judging God’s character)

“Is it for us,” says the objector who, by some sleight of will, believes in the word apart from the meaning for which it stands, “to judge of the character of our Lord?” I answer, “This very thing he requires of us.” He requires of us that we should do him no injustice. He would come and dwell with us, if we would but open our chambers to receive him. How shall we receive him if, avoiding judgment, we hold this or that daub of authority or tradition hanging upon our walls to be the real likeness of our Lord? Is it not possible at least that, judging unrighteous judgment by such while we flatter ourselves that we are refusing to judge, we may close our doors against the Master himself as an impostor, not finding him like the picture that hangs in our oratory? And if we do not judge—humbly and lovingly—who is to judge for us?

Better to refuse even the truth for a time, than, by accepting into our intellectual creed that which our heart cannot receive, not seeing its real form, to introduce hesitation into our prayers, a jar into our praises, and a misery into our love. If it be the truth, we shall one day see it another thing than it appears now, and love it because we see it lovely; for all truth is lovely. “Not to the unregenerate mind.” But at least, I answer, to the mind which can love that Man, Christ Jesus; and that part of us which loves him let us follow, and in its judgements let us trust; hoping, beyond all things else, for its growth and enlightenment by the Lord…To mistake the meaning of the Son of man may well fill a man with sadness. But to care so little for him as to receive as his what the noblest part of our nature rejects as low and poor, or selfish and wrong, that surely is more like the sin against the Holy Ghost that can never be forgiven; for it is a sin against the truth itself, not the embodiment of it in him.

by George MacDonald
from Unspoken Sermons, vol. 1, “It Shall Not Be Forgiven”

(paraphrase below the fold)

“Is it for us,” says the objector who, by some trick of will, believes in the word apart from the meaning for which it stands, “to judge the character of our Lord?” I answer, “This is exactly what he requires of us.” He requires of us that we should do him no injustice. He would come and dwell with us, if we would but open our chambers to receive him. How shall we receive him if, avoiding judgment, we hold this or that daub of authority or tradition hanging upon our walls to be the real likeness of our Lord? Is it not possible at least that, judging unrighteous judgment in so doing even while we flatter ourselves that we are refusing to judge, we may close our doors against the Master himself as an impostor, not finding him like the picture that hangs in our prayer closet? And if we do not judge—humbly and lovingly—who is to judge for us?

Better to refuse even the truth for a time, than, by accepting into our intellectual creed that which our heart cannot receive, not seeing its real form, to introduce hesitation into our prayers, a jolt into our praises, and a misery into our love. If it is the truth, we will one day see it another thing than it appears now, and love it because we see it lovely; for all truth is lovely. “Not to the unregenerate mind.” But at least, I answer, to the mind which can love that Man, Christ Jesus; and that part of us which loves him let us follow, and in its judgments let us trust; hoping, beyond all things else, for its growth and enlightenment by the Lord…To mistake the meaning of the Son of man may well fill a man with sadness. But to care so little for him as to accept as his what the noblest part of our nature rejects as low and poor, or selfish and wrong, that surely is more like the sin against the Holy Spirit that can never be forgiven; for it is a sin against the truth itself, not the embodiment of it in him.

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  • Paige

    What? No translation? Well, I’ll forgive you today. 😉