Punishment vs Consequences
Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.I was reading for Disciple today. The two verse above were the first two verse of our reading for the day.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins. Isaiah 40:1-2
I didn't like them.
Of course, I like the idea of hope and comfort for Israel, but I don't like the idea that they have paid double for their sins. Does that sound like God has punished them twice as much as is fair?
And what about this idea of punishment from God, anyway? It was a block for me as I read last week's lessons. Consequences (which was the theme) are one thing. I believe that our sinful actions will create consequences. But punishment? Does God punish people?
It seems to me that we are pretty good, all on our own, of creating our own punishment -- negative consequences.
Image: quilted cross from Burlington chapel