For the two of you who care, I took a second hiatus because I had a mission’s trip in Guatemala. Yes, it was cool, no I probably won’t be blogging about it. Why not? EVERYBODY does that. So I’m back on the radar ready to write like mad again because when I’m writing, I don’t have to apply for a job!
“Summarize yourself in one word.” Surely, you’ve seen this somewhere in your life. I hate that question; it’s not a fair question! I mean, have you ever met ANYBODY who could be described in just one word?
George is “nice.” When he goes to the movies, he opens the door for his wife. When his son gets an F, he buys him some candy. When a man breaks into his house and kills both wife and son, he serves the man cookies and coffee, then vacuums the carpet to help disguise the killer’s footprints. George is nice.
Stupid, isn’t it? Then why do we do the same thing to God?
God is “fierce.” God is “love.” God is “peace.” God is “powerful.” All these phrases are true, but if you use any one of them as a single, defining attribute, you lie.
God is a lot of things. Genesis 1: 27 says that God created man in his own image. God created us to reflect himself. Unfortunately, sin came in and distorted that, so we’re left with only one example to follow: Jesus, who was the revelation of God (John 14:9).
So what was Jesus? He was love, yes, as demonstrated by his concern for those society had forgotten. He was also angry. We usually picture the temple cleansing to look like this.
But it was really more like this…
Note the chaos. You can’t even immediately see Jesus (red man on the left) because he doesn’t have a halo or an ethereal glow. He’s human and furious. He sat down and made a whip and used it to drive out those who used the house of God as a place to commit over-the-counter theft.
Jesus was tired during his ministry (Luke 5:16). He was frustrated when his own disciples didn’t understand his teachings (John 14:9). He was moved with compassion for the mourning (John 11:45). He was surprised when the centurion had greater faith than his followers (Luke 7:9). Jesus was a lot of things. God is the same way.
To be more than one thing at once is not hypocrisy; it’s completeness. Take me for example: I’m a writer as you can tell by this blog. But I’m also an American, a Christian, a cat-lover, a gamer, and a lot of other things. Take out any one of them and you take out a piece of me. It’s a collection of characteristics that make up a character, not just one of them.
Hypocrisy only occurs when a person tries to be two things that immediately clash, like saying you love everybody, but bashing on gay people or the president.
I’ll briefly note the biggest “hypocrisy” people see in God: his being both loving and angry at the same time. Let me paint a picture:
You send your six-year-old child off to school in the morning. That afternoon, you get a call: a man came into your son’s school and killed him with an automatic rifle. And 19 of his friends.
What do you feel?
Anger. Rage. Fury. As you should. Why? Because you love your child.
Anger and love combine remarkably well. This is why a father disciplines his child: anger at the root of selfishness that is poisoning the child he loves. This is why my friend and I both get angry when our wives are sick: hatred for the sickness that is hurting our beloved. This is why the Old Testament God and the New Testament God are the same: wrath against sin that destroys the people he loves.
There’s a whole other book on wrath and love, but the purpose of this article is simply to point out that God is many things and this does not make him a liar or a hypocrite. It gives him a character. God is a person, not an idea. He has characteristics like love, anger, frustration, humor, honesty, compassion, sadness, patience, and strength.
One last thing I’ve noticed: people who cling to only one or two attributes of God cling to the ones they like. In doing so, they create their own God who either loves everyone so much that he’d never get in your way, or a God who hates everyone but me. God can’t be defined by us; he’s not a character in a book. He’s real. He already exist and already has his own personality. If you want God, you have to take the whole box of chocolates, not just the pieces you like. But it’s okay. They’re all chocolate.
To sum up God in one word, I would say…God.