Anger, Holiness & Love

“We tend to be taken aback by the thought that God could be angry. How can a deity who is perfect and loving ever be angry?…We take pride in our tolerance of the excesses of others. So what is God’s problem? … But love detests what destroys the beloved. Real love stands against the deception, the lie, the sin that destroys. Nearly a century ago the theologian E.H. Glifford wrote: ‘Human love here offers a true analogy: the more a father loves his son, the more he hates in him the drunkard, the liar, the traitor.’… Anger isn’t the opposite of love. Hate is, and the final form of hate is indifference… How can a good God forgive bad people without compromising himself? Does he just play fast and loose with the facts? ‘Oh, never mind…boys will be boys’. Try telling that to a survivor of the Cambodian ‘killing fields’ or to someone who lost an entire family in the Holocaust. No. To be truly good one has to be outraged by evil and implacably hostile to injustice” (Rebecca Pippert).

In this day and age, a lot of us have come to believe that if you love someone, you must automatically endorse everything they do. If you dislike a behavior or a trait in a person, then you must hate the person. It must be that since you love the sinner, you must love the sin.

But God hates sin and loves the sinner. And His definition of love trumps all others. His love is the love we strive for and can’t hope to emulate without having experienced it first. In other words, we can only love Him (and others) because He loved us first.

We can love people and hate what some of their choices and behaviors do to them. We can hate the fact that sin promises the world but never delivers. Sin only leads to numbness, loss, and death. It may not be physical death. In the believer, it doesn’t mean spiritual death. But it leads to a deadening to the awareness of God and the ability to hear Him speaking.

But thanks be to God who can heal and restore. Thanks be to God whose holy love is greater than any sin or hate or indifference. It is a love that purifies and makes us whole, that makes new and alive, that will remain after sin and death are no more.

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