There are people I know who don’t believe in God. Or, if they do believe in Him, they see Him as an angry God, who, if He truly loved and cared about us, would never allow bad things to happen. (This is another topic for another time.) Even for those of us who love God and earnestly believe in Him, it can sometimes be hard to reconcile the “angry” God we read about in the Old Testament to the “loving” God we read about in the New Testament. Add into this mix the many verses throughout the Bible that tell us to “fear God” and I can start to see why people can be so confused about the kind of God He is.
Now, I will be the first to tell you that I am no scholar on God or the Bible. However, I do want to share with you what I have learned and come to believe. And, many of you may think that this is a simpleton point of view, but the older I get, the more I understand that often the most straightforward path is the best and makes the most sense.
If you are confused about God and wonder if He truly loves you or if He is just an angry God, I can tell you with one hundred percent surety that God does indeed LOVE you. And, yes, He can get angry sometimes too. You get angry every now and then, don’t you? I know I certainly do. I am not proud of that fact, but I am only human after all. And, God created us in His likeness, His image. (See Genesis 1:27)
But, we should never look at God and see an angry God. On the contrary, God is our loving Father and we should see Him as such. Because, that is what He is—a good and loving Father. And, like any good father, God can become angry when we do things that can be hurtful to ourselves or others. He can become angry when we don’t follow His rules.
As a little kid, did your earthly father get mad at you for running out into the street? I hope so, you could be hit by a car. As a teenager, did your earthly father ever get mad at you for staying out past your curfew? I hope so, because he made rules to keep you safe. That anger comes from a place of love. The same rule applies to our heavenly Father. God wants to bless us, and keep us safe from harm.
Once you start reading and studying your Bible, you will find plenty of verses that tell us that God is slow to anger. That is His true nature. He is patient toward us and He is full of mercy, grace, and forgiveness. He gives us chance, after chance, after chance, after chance, adnauseam. Psalm 145:8 tells us, “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” 2 Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
So, why does the Bible so often tell us that we should “fear God”? Well, I think we are interpreting the word “fear” incorrectly. And, if you see God as an angry God, it can be easy to understand this confusion. But, once you see for yourself what a good and loving Father God truly is, your knowledge and understanding of the word “fear” will change too.
If you look up the word “fear” in the dictionary, the first definition you see is: a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. And, this is how most of us associate the word “fear” with God. We think we should be afraid of Him. We shouldn’t be.
Now, if you keep going, you will eventually find this definition of the word “fear”: reverential awe, especially toward God. This is a very different interpretation of the word “fear”, don’t you think?
Let’s look at the word “reverence”. Reverence means a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration. When we think about God, Our Father, shouldn’t we have deep respect for Him? I think so! He created us, this universe, and everything in it. Plus, He loves us unconditionally.
Next, let’s take the word “awe”. Dictionary.com defines “awe” as an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like. In other words, we should be amazed by God because He is extraordinary. We should be astonished and overwhelmed by God and His love for us. Or, as the Bible says, we should “fear” God.
It is just a change in our mindset. (I say that like it is an easy thing—it’s not. At least, it isn’t always.) Once we spend some time with God and read His Word and get to know Him better--the REAL Him, His true colors come to light. We are able to see Him in all His radiant glory.
We can look at the world around us; at the trees, flowers, and sunsets and see His handy-work. We can be awed by Him and have reverence for Him. Our definition of “fear” changes once we comprehend for ourselves what a loving God we have. We can fear God the right way.
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.