My Life on Trial
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. Revelation 20:12
I’ve sat in court observing the proceedings, but I’ve never been on trial myself. The closest I’ve come was to stand before the state medical board, answering for my opioid diversion. Basically, I was a physician who’d abused my privileges to prescribe controlled substances. Yes, I got away with it for a while, but eventually, my drug use caught up with me and so, I had to present myself to the state medical board where all my evil deeds were sifted through and judged. They didn’t have the authority to send me to prison, but they did hold my career in their hands. In the end, they reprimanded me, put my medical license on probation, and made my deeds public, which meant my story showed up in the local paper.
Standing before the medical board, I was forced to look back over the previous 15 years of my life, desperately wishing I’d done things differently. While using drugs, I was aware of the possibility of consequences, but I shut them out of my mind, never comprehending the dread and terror of the approaching judgment. I’d followed my self-destructive appetite and I had to face the terrible consequences. There was no escape.
This, in small, is what John described in today’s passage. One day, we’ll all stand before God’s throne of judgment. The book of our lives will be opened, and we will be judged for everything we’ve done. If we have faith in God, and if that faith has been proven authentic by our actions, then our name will be found in the book of life. Those whose names are found in the book of life, we will enter heaven, living in paradise with God forever. Those whose names are not found in the book of life will enter eternal suffering.
Standing before the medical board that day, it was too late to alter the course of my past. My chance to avoid painful judgment had come and gone. Fortunately, I was given a second chance. So now, today, and every day, I make a genuine effort to point my life at God instead of myself so that my deeds will be judged very differently in the future.
So it is with us. Our chance to alter our future is now. Today, we have the choice to follow God or to follow ourselves. The choices we make here and now determine our eternal destiny. Today, we must choose wisely.