The Kindness and Severity of God's Love
by Vicki GRECH
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The Bible is filled with instances that clearly set down the traits of the One many of us call God. Genesis tells us we are made in His image with the exception of being eternal in our earthly state.
Given what the Bible tells us about God, the Father and the Son Jesus, we can safely assume God can be just as loving as He can be severe. We can also I believe assume God is like any other “loving” parent as He proclaims; I am the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thus, why do so many question His great love and severity when these are seen by humanity as natural traits to possess with regard to parenting? Perhaps human parents don’t like the idea of being “parented” themselves?
I believe also too many people forget the earth belongs to the Creator, many believing this to be God. Earth is God’s creation we were given dominion over to care for, sustain and maintain for future generations to inhabit. From what I see we’ve not done a real good job at all. It has been used, abused and exploited extensively to the brink of collapse.
The earth is also a living force carrying its own energy and as a “living” thing is susceptible to growth and subsequent change. The problem is for the most part, humanity is neglectful and ignorant of anything of itself as a whole. For example; the Haiti earthquake that within around 35 seconds destroyed so much and killed so many. People stand in awe and ask; “where is God’s great love, why did He let this happen”? The reality is; God does not “let” it happen, it is a natural feature of the planet we live on. It has to live, if it doesn’t, we cannot live on it.
However, I wonder how many actually saw God’s great love for humanity through the fear and human suffering. How many stopped to consider; how many more lives could have been lost? Many times in severe adversary, especially of this magnitude, we often hear stories of some or many being saved where all the odds were against any chance of life.
What people I believe may often misinterpret as the “severity” of God, the ultimate parent of all life, is His ability to stand firm as a parent. Unlike human parents, He does not bend to the whim and will of “children” in making right what His children have wronged. Rectification of any wrong-doing is up to humanity, not God. The situation is in likeness to human parenting; if our children are responsible for wrong-doing they, not the parents, must bear the consequence of their actions.
Many times our own child’s actions will bring adversary to others innocently caught in the firing line. However, as parents we all know we cannot interfere nor change what has been brought about by the free-will of another. This is a small picture to try and demonstrate the gravity of the situation on a global scale. The decision of one, a few or many, shall bring forth consequence. Urban, modern sustainable living principle and culture can be seen as one of them. Yes, we need places to live, but should we be living for example at the foot of a volcano or a quake zone? Aren’t we really just waiting for a disaster to happen?
Human convenience and greed seems to be in all ways the blinding factor in obstructing the ability to see God’s great love shine through humanity. It’s truly amazing I believe how so many rarely comment on what is good compared to the sensationalism of what is not good. For instance, Haiti; more focus is placed on destruction and death than what is saved and has lived.
For much of human society seems to have a social illness where it can only see fit to capitalize on adversary, rather than see the good within it. It would seem God’s trait of severity is mistakeably seen as His unwillingness to intervene in human life for the sake of human convenience. Like children, we bear the consequence of our own actions and it is fruitless to try and play the “blame-game” with God. Like any good, wise parent, we cannot and do not interfere with the free will of our “adult” children, nor does God. We, like our children, are supposed to learn by example; “life is our greatest teacher “, whilst God is in all ways there for us to call at any time.
For humanity, I believe the heart is the channel, the mind the faith and the soul to know the spirit of God that dwells with and in us.
In conclusion, I believe God is a “parent”, whom like human parents will display and exercise a great love simultaneously with a great sternest or severity of adhering to parenting principles. Selfless, loving, caring and wise parents will not interfere in the lessons of life their children must learn. God is no different.
His love is always there as is His determination to be a disciplined parent. To see God any other way I believe is an illusionary model people construct for their own convenience. Just like our own children, they have to “trust” the relationship; they have to “trust” our parental “tough” love. They have to have “faith” in that their parents will always behave in a manner that is in our best interests.
Without trust and faith in any relationship, whether with another human being or with God, it is doomed to failure. Hence why I believe people continually “question” God’s love, severity and wisdom. It is their lack of trust and faith in the ultimate parent that watches over them and is ever-present and more-so whenever they call. It is sad, so many do not even know God is with them.
God’s love and severity can be seen in everything in Creation and beyond, one only has to be still and quiet long enough to “see, hear, feel and experience” God’s unconditional love.
From my own experiences, including those of the Church in particular, humanity is too quick to judge and too slow to think; thus conjuring up distorted, false and illusionary perceptions of human reality and the role that the Father, God has in it.
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