God’s P.R. Problem
It probably is improper to assert that God has a problem. But if He did have a problem it would be with Public Relations (P.R.). Actually it’s not God who has the problem, so much as it is the people who are entrusted with handling His P.R., the church.
In 2 Corinthians 5, We are called Christ’s Ambassadors. (18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.) We are entrusted with this message of reconciliation, telling people how to be reconciled to God through Christ. Somehow I don’t think we’re doing it right. People have this picture of God that says He is a mean, malevolent being who hates us and sits on a cloud with a lightning bolt waiting to pick us off at the first sign of error. People get this picture because some of us wave signs telling people God hates them, and because more people are so locked in on sin, that they forget to love.
Of course there is another side of it. People have this idea that God is a universalist who lets anything and everything go. He’s sort of like Santa Claus, up there just waiting to make all of our dreams come true. The problem with this way of thinking is that the first time something doesn’t go just the way we think it should, God is an illusion who cannot be real because we had a problem. It’s a false image. God is not some marshmallow, pushover, He is the holy and righteous Creator.
It’s a pretty massive P.R. Problem and it is our fault. We need to put forth a better picture of God. So let’s paint a better one. The true one reflected in Scripture. God is love and He loves us all. He loves us so much that He gave His only Son to die in our place to save us from our sins. What God hates is sin and Hates sin because He loves us. Sin separates us from God and God loves us perfectly and profoundly. So when we say He hates people because they sin, we lie and give a false picture of God. The Bible says “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” If He hates us because we sin then he hates us all and we are without Hope. That’s a false picture of God.
And when we try to redefine sin to make ourselves and our society feel better about our sin, we lie and that lie keeps us in our sin separated from God. Another false picture of God.
So what is the true picture of God? A loving, perfect Father who gave His only Son to erescue us and adopt us into His family. A loving Father who teaches and cares and at times corrects, all for our good. A loving Creator who made everything and knows how it all works, what doesn’t work and what will hurt or kill us. Then like any loving Father, He warns us about the things that will hurt, kill and destroy us. He lovingly calls those things sin and warns us to stay away from them.
Once Jesus was asked “What is the greatest commandment?” He replied, ““‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” What He was saying was this. If we love God in that way, we will try with all that is in us, not to do the things that break our Father’s Heart and we will strive to stop doing the things that put Jesus on the cross and if we love our neighbors, we will live out this faith in a way that shows them the God that loves them.
God doesn’t hate anyone. God hates sin, because He loves us.