Judgment Day Early

I am going to link this article, which is safe to read, though disturbing. I most certainly do NOT recommend that you watch the YouTube video described by the article.

I have no idea why I did. But I did. And it was disturbing.

Here's the gist. A 16-year-old, tech-savvy girl with a disability secretly made a video via webcam of her father beating her. She did this in 2004, and just recently, after what she says was enduring a barrage of verbal abuse over the telephone, decided to upload it to YouTube. Pretty drastic thing to do. Here's what makes it grist for the media mill:

Her father is a Judge.

Now, she says she's done this because she believes her father is mentally disturbed and needs help. She urges compassion rather than condemnation. In this, she exhibits no awareness of basic human nature whatsoever. This guy is getting the full condemnatory treatment.

The video episode is disturbing, as the man is simply out of control. The profanity and vicious things he says to this girl are just horrifying, not to mention the beatings (with his belt). Again, why I watched this, I don't know. I regret it, and don't recommend it.

But it did make me think of one horrible (and yet, hopeful) thought. This man is experiencing (ironically, given his profession) Judgment Day early. That Day when all the secrets will be exposed, and all darkness and secrecy illuminated for all to see. It is a day of humiliation and shame. And it is played out right there on YouTube for the world to see and be outraged. This is what that Day will be like, when everything will be exposed by God. How would you like your life to be played out on YouTube?

But getting this treatment early is actually, if the man understands rightly, an immeasurable grace. For although the humiliation and shame is extreme, his proleptic "judgment day," unlike the real thing (Capital Letters: Judgment Day) grants space and time for true repentance. I hope he does repent and find the forgiveness found only in Jesus Christ. Jesus is familiar with taking the lash, profanity, and vicious cursing from his enemies. All so that his enemies can be forgiven and be reconciled to God: "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).

The greater the darkness, the more brilliant the light. Perhaps this man's own personal "valley of the shadow of death" may yet result in "dwelling in the house of the LORD forever" (Ps. 23). I pray it may be so. This was about as bitter a pill as I've ever seen a man have to swallow. Repentance leads to life. While Adam's race turned a beautiful garden into a graveyard, Jesus, through his death and resurrection, turned a graveyard into a garden. There is a way for one to have no fear of the Judgment Day:

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).

Sweeter words have never been written.

Brian Mattson