Don’t confuse the consequence of sin with the judgment of God. Much of the pain and sorrow that takes place in the lives of people and nations is the consequence of sin, not the judgment of God. The remainder of suffering is a shared vulnerability we all experience because we live in a fallen world. Unless we understand these distinctions we will end up representing God as a cruel and distant deity, not a loving Father whose heart breaks over each experience of sin and suffering.
God fully judged the sin of humanity on the Cross and someday, at the end of time, He will bring His final judgment. We are living in between those two judgments as representatives of His Kingdom on earth. Understanding our role in this in-between time will craft the tone of our message and the course of our actions.
John wrote, “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17) That same mission was given to the Church. How we unpack our understanding of that mission will define everything we do in His name for the good and unfortunately, sometimes, for the bad.