I’m not sure how many times I’ve heard people say things like “Well, yes, God is love, but God is also just…”
It’s almost like they are afraid that if people believed that God really loved them fully, that they would take advantage of that and immediately run out to go on a sex and murder spree or something. It’s almost like they believe that love is only this shallow, timid fondness that is easily conquerable and trampled over. They say it kind of like a person saying, “well, yes she is pretty, but she is smart too..”
They say this in an attempt to communicate, “I don’t want you to misunderstand me here and think that God is ONLY loving…because then you will probably not be afraid of him and just go out and do whatever you want to.”
I think that this view demonstrates a shallow and inappropriate understanding of both love and justice.
Love can be ferocious.
I love my wife and my baby girl, Amelie, and if anyone would try to do something to hurt those girls, I would ferociously try to protect them. If Amelie tries to stick her fingers in an electric socket, I would be ferocious in making sure that she didn’t. If I needed to, I would yell, or slap her hand away or do anything I needed to do to make sure she didn’t get her fingers in there.
Love IS just.
If my neighbor is being unjustly accused of something by the law, and I don’t step up and seek for his justice, then I do not love my neighbor. If that woman can not feed her children, and the people around her love her, what do they do? They seek justice for her. They help her provide for her children. This is just. This is loving. They go hand in hand. Justice is about setting things to right, and love always seeks justice for those who need it.
It is for these reasons that I believe that God is ONLY loving.
“Loving” doesn’t mean weak or passive. Love is strong. Love builds what he needs to build and destroys what he needs to destroy for the sake of his beloved. Love is passion. Love is justice. Love is wrath. Love is kindness. God IS love.
Perfect love casts out fear. This is because love is better than fear. Fear gets you to obey the speed limit if you suspect that there may be police around, but love for the passengers in your car makes you drive carefully. Fear can get you to obey rules, but it cannot transform your heart. Religion that is based in fear says things like “well, yes God is love, but….”
No. God is love. Period.