Let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy upon them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. [Isaiah 55:7, NRSV]
Bad habits and destructive patterns can’t be given up easily; they weigh heavy on our hearts, channel our thoughts, and take hold of our very souls. What is monumentally difficult becomes nigh impossible if making the effort only lands us before the judgement seat of an unforgiving God. Why make such an uphill climb to be cast back down into hell?
But the judgement of God isn’t retribution for all past sins, it’s the chance to stop inflicting on the world the hell we hold inside.
If we have the chance to save a soul from torment, why wouldn’t we? If saving that single soul transforms the world, why would we do anything else? If someone can do the same for us, wouldn’t we want them to make the effort?
That’s what God’s mercy and pardon does, transforms hell into holy ground – for us, for those we love, and for those we don’t. Most especially for those we don’t.
Can we find enough grace in our hearts to rejoice in such a change?