The Harshness of Love

He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy” (Proverbs 29:1)

The man enjoyed animal pets, especially cats; and he disliked weapons, especially high-powered guns. So why was he padding on stealthy feet across his back deck at 4 a.m., clutching a shotgun?  

A yellow, battle-scarred tom had been terrorizing Eliezer and the man’s other cats for weeks. The big cat seemed to appear from nowhere, leaping from the shadows and raking his victims with teeth and claws until they screamed for mercy. The wily creature made a mockery of the man’s most cunning attempts to stop him. So at last it had come to this.  

We serve a God who is kind and good to all creation, especially to people, and who is unwilling that any should perish. So why do we read in the Bible of a place of eternal torment for those who refuse to serve God in life?  

God is love. He loves us so much that He gave His only Son to die so that we might have eternal life. But pure love is also just. God not only saves us but also calls us and empowers us to holy living. His justice will not allow evil to defy His holiness. If God did not love His people, He might shrug and say, “Who cares? So what if a little sin slips in here and there to taint the purity of Christ’s bride?”  

Because God is holy, heaven awaits His holy people. Because God is just, hell awaits the unrepentant sinner. Because God is love, He is uncompromising—yes, even harsh against anything that threatens His beloved. The man’s efforts to safeguard his cats are puny when compared to the outpouring of the holy wrath of an almighty God against evil.  

The day of wrath, that dreadful day, 
When heav’n and earth shall pass away! 
What pow’rs shall be the sinner’s stay? 
How shall he meet that dreadful day? 
—Thomas of Celano (#570 in The Christian Hymnary) 

From Paws on My Porch, by Gary Miller
© 2015 TGS International, PO Box 355, Berlin, Ohio 44610
Used by permission 


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