Yesterday, I read this:
“God’s anger is that of a father who is unconditionally committed to his children but because of that is furious at their sin. There is nothing that affects us like the displeasure of one we love and adore. This fatherly anger, full of unfailing love, when understood, is a transforming motivation that makes us willing and able to change.” The Songs of Jesus by Timothy Keller
… full of unfailing love, when understood.
There’s a lot we don’t understand about God.
But there is enough we do understand.
We either see an angry God, aloof and disconnected or we see him as loving to the extent of accepting whatever we do or how we live.
Both are wrong.
It’s up to us to understand. And we can.
We may say because we cannot understand everything we cannot understand anything. If you believe in God, if you believe Jesus died on behalf of your sin, you must believe in a benevolent God who didn’t leave us without understanding some things.
Maybe not all, but some. And some, is enough.
The most important thing we can understand from the Bible is God’s character. There is plenty there to tell us what He is like and what He will do.
It’s true – God is angry at sin. That’s kind of hard to understand in a world which accepts so much sinful behavior, along with accusations of not loving if you don’t accept it.
Excuses are made. Labels are applied. But the bottom line is sin is a real thing we have to come to terms with.
But then there is God so loved the world …
He lowered Himself to become a part of humanity.
He dwelt among us.
He gave Himself on the cross and his anger was justified at the cross.
Again, this may be difficult to comprehend because society has become so accepting of certain sinful behaviors (more so than 10, 20, 50 years ago) it may be hard to remember that God sees things differently than we do. I mean, after all, he is God, right?
Yet, He also loves us in a way we cannot fully grasp. Our love is limited. His is not. Our love is conditional. God’s love is unconditional.
Does that mean he loves us no matter what? Yes. He embodies love in the highest form – sacrificing Himself on our behalf.
So how does this help a hurting person?
Unless you know who God is, you are unlikely to trust him.
If you think he is just angry, you will stay clear of Him.
If you think he is just loving, you will be angry because He “let this happen”.
The only way you can trust Him is to understand who he is. Not what you think He is, but who He really is.
What does God want from us? Following all the rules and regulations?
He wants our love.
We cannot love what we don’t understand.
When we find out who God is – what He is really like – we will be motivated to be willing and able to change.
Believe me. When you begin learning what God is really like, you will begin loving Him, because you will start to trust Him. You find out he really does comfort you. He really does give you peace in your mind.
And you will want to change only because you love Him; not because you have to behave in order to go to Heaven.
It’s not just about changing how we live, but how we view God through what the Bible tells us about Him. We either believe it or we don’t. And because God loves us so much, it’s okay to ask Him to help us believe.
The reason to change is because it works. Like a good, earthly father, He knows what is best for us. The reason to avoid this and do not do that is to keep us happy and safe.
Hurting people get angry at God.
Hurting people get bitter.
Hurting people hurt themselves even more when they don’t turn to God for help.
He is there, waiting for you.