God claims to be compassionate, but in the Bible we see him be cruel.
God sends the angel of death to kill all the Egyptians first-born sons
God claims to be forgiving, but we see him be petty.
God kills a man for touching the ark of the covenant to settle it when he wasn’t the right person to touch it.
God claims to be gracious, but we see him be harsh.
God commands death for small crimes, such as picking up sticks on the Sabbath.
God claims to be good, but we see him be evil.
God commands the genocide—killing of men, women and children as well as animals—of entire nations.
Yes, God is shown to be loving as well.
God delivers an undeserving nation from slavery.
God forgives a man for murder and adultery.
God provides food for the hungry.
God raises children from the dead.
God pays the debt of a widow.
God establishes a great nation out of nobodies.
But the very nation God established was patriarchal, bloodthirsty and warring.
They’re ancestral heroes are lying, cheating and disloyal.
I’d like to say that there is an error in the Bible.
That some events were attributed to God when they really weren’t.
That people penned God’s name to sayings he never said.
That God experimented in different methods to train humans to love, and many of them failed.
That God could do what humans could not do because He was creator.
But these are all excuses for an unloving God, or, at best, a God that was learning how to love.
A God who did not know what compassion, grace, forgiveness and good really meant.
Or a God who was sorely, even deceitfully, misrepresented.
Frankly, I just don’t know.
But this I do know:
The God I worship, adore, obey and imitate is displayed in full glory in Jesus.
Jesus is the perfect demonstration of the love of God.
Jesus is the God who transforms the occasionally harsh law into pure love.
Jesus is the God who heals the sick and feeds the hungry.
Jesus is the God who welcomes the sinner.
Jesus is the God who sacrifices himself for the sake of the world.
Jesus is the God who forgives completely, without punishment.
Jesus is the God who exuberantly, abundantly, enthusiastically loves.
And there is no other God but the God whom we see in Jesus.
Jesus is the complete fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Jesus turns deceit into Truth.
Jesus turns disloyalty into Faithfulness.
Jesus turns selfishness into Sacrifice.
And Jesus turns a broken God into a God broken for us.
In Jesus we see the Compassionate, the Gracious, the Merciful, the Forgiving.
This is the God I love, the God I seek, the God I pray to.
There is no other.