Remember the parable of the talents (Matthew 25.14-30)? One of the most bothersome passages of scripture is verse 24. The man who received the smallest amount of money was afraid to invest it. Actually, the accusation by the master is that he is "wicked and lazy" Hmmm. But the one talent man says that "I knew you were a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed..." In the judgment that follows we see the Master react in a way that confirms his fears! God brings judgment on the one who received but didn't invest, didn't risk, based upon his faith (or lack of faith).
He judges harshly as the ".. hard man" that he was believed to be. I am wondering if this doesn't apply to those of us who demand holiness and near perfection in following the Lord. If we preach a stricter vision of God, do we condemn ourselves? Isn't it interesting the the Pharisees never lived up to the spirit of the law that they were so inclined to preach! They found ways to violate the law without breaking the letter of the law. This attempt at self justification and the condemnation of others is self defeating since we can't live up to the perfection we demand of others.
While God demands obedience from his kids, his demand is both within our power and a response of love to him and his ways. E.M.Bounds writes "Far be it from our heavenly Father, to demand impossibilities of his children. It is possible to please him in all things, for he is not hard to please. He is neither a hard master, nor an austere lord,... Thank God it is possible for every child of God to please his heavenly Father! It is really much easier to please him than men." Wow! God is easier to please than men?!
So why do we heap upon others the judgment of a 'hard master'. Don't we really set ourselves up to reaping the judgment of God in the long run? And why not live to please him- and let the rest sort it out on their own?