Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An Angry God of Love

My family history is filled with preachers of various backgrounds and denominations.  Even today my Southern family is highly impassioned regarding religion, and I am obviously no exception.  I have studied many religions and I have seen a very common theme in some of the arguments members of various sects have.  Some claim that God is a God of love.  Some argue that the Bible clearly states that He is an angry God and indeed, the Bible discusses both arguments and gives plenty of references to support both ideas.  So which is right?
Let's take a moment to step backward and look at things in context.  Religionists have a terrible habit of taking one scripture that supports their own philosophies out of its native situation and basing their whole idea of the universe upon it.  It's a very narrow minded practice.  So first off, the Old Testament clearly states that God is angry and jealous; indeed, we often refer to the God of the Old Testament as an angry God.  The New Testament says without question that "God is love" and sacrificed His only begotten Son for the love of the world.  Why the difference?  Firstly, let us remember that in the Old Testament, God had literally moved heaven and earth to give life and comfort to the Israelites who in turn became ashamed of Him and wanted to worship idols because that was what was socially acceptable.  The Book of Hosea, which is one of my favorites, likens the relationship between God and Israel to that of a loving husband and unfaithful wife.  My friends, if you had given an overwhelming amount to someone who didn't rightly deserve it, told and showed your love for them, treated them like gold, and loved them with reckless abandon, accepted their affection in return in private, only to have them become ashamed of you in public and treat you like dirt because you weren't low enough to be socially acceptable by vulgar people, wouldn't you be righteously indignant?  Anyone who has been cheated on understands that it is possible to be swelling with love for someone and also want to rip them limb from limb.
It is notable that the terms "jealous" and "angry" go together in order to describe God.  We aren't jealous of people we don't love.  Thus the anger of God arises because of His love for us and He makes it manifest because He wants us to return to Him because He knows that our happiness depends upon it.  I myself am known for being a very loving person and very difficult to offend.  But some months ago a select few saw another side of me.  I found myself consumed by a hysterical, white hot rage precisely for the same reason that God is sometimes angry with us.  I had for many years cared about someone innocently, purely, selflessly and deeply and for years this person had treated me as though I was nothing for no better reason than that it was socially unacceptable to treat me with more respect.  They were expecting me to give them all the attention and love I always had, but took no action to treat me as they should, and this had continued for a very long time.  At last, they decided to behave very arrogantly toward me at which point fury poured out of my soul in a manner surprising to all but mostly to myself.  I made it very plain that I didn't need this person and was in no way captive to them.  I asserted the fact that I had not treated them so well for so long because I was weak but precisely because I was strong.  I didn't act so out of hatred but out of overwhelming love and because I couldn't let the relationship remain as it had been, as there was no way it could survive in any measure if it continued as it had.  And if humans are capable of such complex emotions, how much more acutely does God Almighty feel when we, unworthy creatures, seek to trample Him under our feet?

No comments:

Post a Comment