What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What to do with "Angry God"

Sorry for the blogger silence. I dropped my laptop off to get fixed yesterday morning and I've had the withdrawal shakes ever since. Scary how addicted I am to technology.

Recently a friend of mine and I were looking at the first couple of chapters of the gospel of John. In those chapters you get Jesus inviting people to follow him, and turning water into wine--nice Jesus. But you also get Jesus clearing the temple and talking to Nicodemus about condemnation--mean Jesus.

Sometimes the Bible talks about God's grace and love...and then sometimes the Bible talks scarily much about condemnation and judgment. Bottom line: is God nice or angry?

The Scripture is emphatic: "God is love" declares the disciple John.

But it's also emphatic that he will come and judge...and his judgment is serious. But the trick is to recognize that right and good judgment always serves love.

A good judge is a blessing to society. To have someone who judges rightly is a gift. To have a lazy, sloppy, bribe-able or negligent judge leaves the most vulnerable people in society at the mercy of the most powerful.

Right judgment is a blessing. God is a good and righteous judge. One day, all that is wrong in the world will be done away with. His last word on his creation is "YES!" And so he emphatically levels his "no" towards all that would desecrate, deface, and destroy his creation.

God is love. And his judgments are for the good of all that he has created. His wrath serves his grace. And his purpose in all condemnation is for the flowering of his creation.

God is not torn or at odds within himself. That's us. He is fully integrated within his character. Everything about God, including and especially his anger, serves his purpose to love into wholeness all that he has made.

Sometimes we would prefer benign neglect. Instead, God pays us the greatest and most intolerable compliment: he loves us.

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