So, I would like to do my best today to dispel this popular evangelical myth, for there is no “also” with God.
And I understand what they’re trying to do, but I don’t think they understand what they are doing. By attempting to somehow “balance out” God with their “but” they have proven that they don’t really understand Love. They’re trying to make Love conditional with their legal disclaimers in the fine print.
For this knee-jerk response comes from our long-standing love affair with stainless steel legal jurisprudence, not from our being properly informed by who God truly is from the view of His embrace.
Saying that “God is love but…” compartmentalizes and dissects who He is–it actually negates Love.
For Love is not one of His attributes, it’s the very Person of God. It’s the full revelation of who He truly is.
For you cannot divorce God’s justice or holiness–or anything else about Him–from Love. For when you do, you end up with an angry vindictive, distant God which, unfortunately, many of His beloved have in view in their orphaned minds.
Every response of God, even His justice and anger, is because of His unconditional and reckless love…for YOU.
I remember a few years back when I had a daily radio spot called, “God Moments.” And the theme was always about the goodness of God and how He invites everyone to embrace this love. One day, I mentioned that God is not angry at us, that He’s like the Prodigal’s father who’s waiting for us to open our hearts to His love. Later that day, when I got to my office there was a message on my phone from an angry woman that went something like this…
“You are deceiving people! The Bible says that God is angry with sinners all day long…you need to tell them the truth!” Click!
Of course, she was parroting what a lot of Christians believe, and they get this from one solitary verse in the Bible, actually the King James Version of this verse, which is Psalm 7:11…
“God judgeth the righteous,
and God is angry with the wicked every day.” (KJV)
Case closed, right?
Well, it would be if that’s what it actually said in the original language. You see, your Bible will probably have “with the wicked” in italics, which means that those words were added because they weren’t in the original text. In other words, you’re getting the translators interpretative lens, or bias, on what they think God meant here. Not that this is necessarily bad, but sometimes it can lead to confusion, or just plain wrong ideas about God.
While the original text of your Bible, in the original language with the original intent and meaning is inspired, the translation is not necessarily inspired.
And this is why it’s good to have several translations to make sure you’re getting the true essence of what God is actually saying, rather than what the interpreters assume that He meant.
So, let’s look at this verse in other translations (bold-text added)…
“God [is] a righteous judge,
And He is not angry at all times.” (Young’s Literal Translation)
Wow, that has a different spin, doesn’t it! This very literal rendering of the original Hebrew text says that God is NOT angry at all times with no mention of the wicked here.
Now, how about a more modern rendering.
“God is a fair judge,
a God who is angered by injustice every day.” (God’s Word Translation)
My personal biased lens would probably prefer this rendering. I mean, which one sounds more like the God who is love?
So, what angers God? It’s not sinners or the wicked. It’s injustice. And He is always for His beloved…you!
Did He not “so love” every person who will ever inhabit this world, even those who hate Him, that He came in the form of a man–Jesus–to release us from the entanglements and toxicities of our fallenness? (John 3:16)
Did Jesus not come, not to condemn sinners, but to free them from their prison? (Luke 4:18; John 3:17)
Isn’t His compassion for the rejected, the abandoned, the forsaken, the abused and misused? For when you love someone the way God loves, you can’t stand to see them to suffer in any way.
God is not conflicted here–loving the world He died for and hating them every day at the same time! We are the ones with the issues here.
Jesus told us to love those who would want to be our enemies, not be angry with them all day long. Why? Because this is how God rolls (bold-type added).
“But I say to you, love your enemies,
bless those who curse you,
do good to those who hate you,
and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
that you may be sons of your Father in heaven;
for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good,
and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt.5:44-45 NKJV)
Okay, hopefully you get the idea. God is love…period. Everything God does is because of His love. His full range of emotions are fueled by His burning hot love for you.
I will dispel more of our “sinners in the hands of an angry God” myths in future posts. For now, know that God is for you not against you…even when you’re still trying to be against Him.
You are SO loved!