If we try using the word “just punishment” these days, people cringe. It sounds like an act of hatred. Almost across the board, people want to erase the word “punishment” and substitute the word “consequence” or “training.”
I have been puzzling over this for a while.
Some immediate thoughts.
The Bible abounds in the word “punishment.” Should we abandon the Bible?
Tradition abounds in the word “punishment.” Should we abandon Tradition?
Justice calls for retribution, that is, reward for good action and punishment for the evil action. Should we reject Justice?
The Redeemer took on our punishment, so as to pay for our sins. Should we reject his Redemption?
This rejection of “punishment” lurks in many places. It requires deep thought to try to counter this error. It is a heresy brewing. It is linked with a spirit of entitlement. Suddenly, we are all entitled to forgiveness and charity. We operate out of this entitlement mentality. That spells disaster for our view of God: He owes us! Also, if we have any faults, they are not our fault. They just need to be “trained” out of us. Thus, we reject free will and responsibility. Ultimately, why am I evil? Because my role models were evil. And they were evil because their models were evil. Trace this back to The Creator! Freud fingers God.
Thought needs to be given to this error. To call it out on the spot. If we keep glossing this over, by trying to highlight the beauty of redemption and mercy, we will be missing the very essence of redemption and mercy. Redemption and mercy are premised on just punishment. For they involve God’s taking this on. If we deny justice, we deny the redemption’s true essence.
We must stay focused and not be distracted. This is a great heresy, running rampant in the world. It is a great force behind all those who hate hell, not because they fear going there, but because they think it is an evil thing.