I am going to try and set the record straight.
God does not hate anyone. Not liars, thieves, adulterers, murderers, rapists, child molesters, abusive people, transsexuals, homosexuals, Muslims, terrorists, politicians, idol worshipers, Satanists, cannibals, witches, warlocks, witch doctors, porn stars, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, addicts, or crooked cops. He isn’t out to get anyone. He isn’t mad at people. He isn’t going to “punish” anyone, or even send anyone to Hell. If Hell is in our future it’s because we chose it instead of Him and Heaven. He doesn’t send us there. Contrary to popular opinion, God didn’t send His son to judge the world. The scripture that is touted at ball games, and on t-shirts doesn’t read, “For God so hated the world that He sent His Son to condemn it. This is what it really says,
John 3:16-17 (NASB),
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
Before you start spouting off Old Testament scripture, let me remind you that the only people Jesus railed at where the hard hearted, stiff necked, self righteous religious leaders of his time. (Four times in Matthew 23 Jesus says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”) To the woman caught in adultery, He said, “Where is your accusers…I don’t accuse you…go and sin no more.” To Zacchaeus, the crooked tax collector, He said, “I must stay to your house today!” He ate with sinners, and people of bad reputation. The religious people of His day found fault with this, but His answer was that well people didn’t need a doctor.
Who needs a Savior? People who are broken, lost, and unable to face this world on their own. Who needs a redeemer? People who are slaves to their own desires, greed, lust, and those who have chosen to drown their sorrows in alcohol, or take a permanent vacation through the latest designer drug. Who needs the Truth? Those who have believed the lie that they aren’t loved, aren’t wanted, and aren’t worthy.
Those are the people He came for.
I know it is popular in today’s culture to say that all believers are judgmental and critical, and those are the nice things people say. Again let me set the record straight. Religion judges. Why? Because religion is based on our performance, how we can follow the rules and long lists of do’s and don’ts. That is NOT what Jesus came to do. He set us free from the law of performance. We could never do enough to earn our place in the Father’s heart or family. Jesus came for one reason, to show us the Father’s love. Those that say people who go to Church, or Christians are some of the meanest people they met, have simply been misinformed. Those people were religious people, not followers of Christ. Those who truly know Him, aren’t tolerant, tolerance means I don’t like you or what you do, but I will tolerate sharing oxygen with you. Followers of Christ, those who love Him, love others. Big difference. Love says, I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done, I will love you anyway. Love says, you don’t have to be like me, look like me, or talk like me, I can still love you. Religious people draw a circle and say, “stay out!” Those who love draw a circle and say, “come in, I have someone I’d like you to meet,” and then introduce them to Jesus and the Father’s love.
Religion sets laws, tells you how to live, who to love, and what do believe. Relationship gives you direct access to God’s heart. You don’t need someone to tell you what to do, you will know what pleases Him and because you will be overwhelmed by His love, you will want to please Him. Religion makes you look down on others and criticize. Relationship makes you compassionate and wanting to help others. Religion promises a reward for certain behavior after you die, relationship is full of blessings right now. Religion holds signs at a funeral that say, “God hates Gays.” Love comforts those who are hurting and treats people with compassion and respect. Law kills, love heals. Law was only ever instituted because of the terrible condition of man’s hearts. It was to keep us from harming ourselves and others. On the other hand, relationship with God had only one law. Love. That’s it. Love Him and love others. There is no performance. We love Him, accept His love and then He does all the work of changing our hearts and minds. It isn’t us trying to clean ourselves up, that’s what Jesus called the Pharisees on. He said they were “whitewashed graves” clean on the outside but full of dead man’s bones. A relationship changes us on the inside. His love convinces us of who He is and who we are. We are loved, and cherished. Even when we sin!
Think of the one person who personifies evil, living or dead.
God loves that person.
God loves us so much that He would never force us to do anything. He lets us choose to love Him, or not, to choose heaven or hell, to heal or to try to put a big bandage on the gaping wounds. His arms are open, He is attentively watching, and always listening for your call, be it a shout or a whisper.
Are you a stranger to God and always believed that yielding to Him meant following a list of rules? Stop believing the lie! He requires nothing but your heart.
Are you a “religious” person who has strived to live by a list of rules, or found little love for others in your heart? Stop believing the lie! You can’t make God love you less, or more by anything you do or say.
Ephesians 2:1-10 (NIV), “
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (emphasis mine)
We live in dark times, but His light should be shining in us in such a way that people are drawn to it. We should be showing the Fathers heart.
His heart is full of love.