GROWING CHURCH HEALTH THROUGH UNDERSTANDING GOD’S LOVE
Love that hates…That is what one friend of mine called the drift in our current culture towards what others have called unsanctified mercy. We live in a world in which tolerance has become the highest moral value. In the name of not judging others, we have abandoned all forms of spiritual discernment, we’ve drifted from the plumb-line of Heaven in the name of “love” and have sacrificed truth.
Our misguided attempts to improve upon the mercy of God have put us at odds with the will of God and have caused us to question the reality of judgment and hell, and the notion of consequence altogether.
Having pastored in San Francisco for over three decades, I have seen the pain and brokenness of humanity. I am fully aware of the many people who are bound by sin and brokenness and who are actually victims of the demonized system. This fact draws the heart of God towards the center as evidenced by declaration just as Jesus saw the multitudes as sheep without a shepherd: wary and scattered.
Yet understanding and experiencing God’s mercy towards humanity should never cause us to diminish God’s holiness or devalue the judgment of God. In fact it is judgment that exalts and glorifies mercy. And he who is forgiven much loves much.
In order to fully comprehend the love of God we must start by understanding God’s love is a love that hates.
When the author of Hebrews quotes Psalm 45, he selects the key verse that speaks to this issue. He says to love righteousness and hate iniquity. God’s love is a love that hates. His love hates anything that would harm his beloved. Love that does not hate is not true love at all.
God’s love is tolerant, “He wills that none should perish but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth.” But it’s important that we do not confuse tolerance with universal acceptance and approval. God only approves what He ordains. And to the extent that humanity is embracing and releasing behaviors that are contrary to the heart of God, that puts us in opposition to the will of God.
God loves us unconditionally, but God is violently opposed to the forces of evil: the rebels in the heavens that brought the rebellion to Earth. God must continually bear the grief that the deceiver is constantly tormenting His children (oppression, poverty, pain, abuse, addiction, etc.). God loves us so much that he gave his only begotten Son so that whoever would embrace and turn from this corruption will find eternal life. On the other hand, for those who refuse to break their agreement and alignment with the forces of evil, they will find themselves in alliance with all that God hates.
One of the problems we face is misunderstanding the difference between love and blessing.
And although he loves us unconditionally, the blessings of God are almost always conditional. It is true that God causes the sun to shine on the just and the unjust at the same time. However, when we are unwilling to come into alignment with God’s presence and purpose, that puts us at odds with all that God has made. Although he loves us unconditionally, he will not fail to amputate a limb that has become infected and is unable to be healed. But he is the Healer and all that he does is good and right.