For God So Hated the World?

There’s this “church” I keep reading about (I won’t mention their name here, because they do not deserve the recognition) that has received no small amount of notoriety for picketing places that really could do without a group of angry, shouting, hate-filled people trying to draw attention to themselves and their organization by deliberately causing pain to people. They do this by telling people who and what God hates with amateurish signboards, and marching dolts barfing rhetoric that is about as far away from God as East is from West.

That’s crap.

And it isn’t church. This particular organization seems to me to be little more than a forum for its mad-as-a-hatter leader to spew his vitriolic garbage. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but to my knowledge, the bible doesn’t say anything about God hating people for the things they do. He just hates the things they do sometimes, in the context of hating sin.

Not sinners.

And the thing that occurred to me was that telling people who and what they should hate is about as stupid as the day is long.,

I realized that, for me, it takes way too much energy to hate. In my opinion, it’s easier to love, and to forgive.

Hatred is tiring, time consuming, and no matter how justified a person might feel in “owning” that particular emotion, it will add nothing to that person’s life in feeling it, save bitterness.

Jesus did not come here to die a criminal’s death because he hated the world or anyone in it.

He loved the world (John 3:16).

He came so those living in it could have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).

If you have a little time, go through Psalms, and count how many times you read the words “unfailing love” in regard to God.

Not unfailing hatred. Not for homosexuals, or thieves, or money launderers, or congressmen, no matter which side of the political spectrum butters their bread.

I realize this probably all sounds more than a bit disjointed, and probably doesn’t make sense to anyone but me.

But I feel moved to tell anyone who might read this not to waste another second hating someone for voting differently than you. Or having more money than you. Or praying to a different god, in a different way.

There was a person who in my youth was very close to me, who wounded me in many ways, and in fact was personally and nearly solely responsible for the lies I believed about myself for most of my life.

I wasted most of my life hating him with a passion that while I may have thought kept me warm, was really just chilling my soul.

I blamed everything wrong in my life on him, even years after he was no longer part of it.

I had all these morbid fantasies of exacting my revenge–I would even daydream about it.

The result was that the bitterness and unforgiveness that had taken root in my heart was really little better than taking a drink of poison and hoping this other person that had wronged me would die.

He didn’t, but had I kept going along that route, I don’t know what would have happened to me.

What did happen was that through the grace of God, I was able to first forgive myself for cowering in the stronghold I’d created, and then forgive this person that had wounded me.

Not just say “I forgive you,” because those words spoken without meaning are worth about as much as a Euro in Lakeside.

I’m talking about forgetting revenge, or payback, or rectification of any kind. I mean actual forgiveness, that I thought I would never feel.

And what it felt like was shackles falling away from my soul.

This forgiveness is available to anyone that wants it, but you have to let go of hatred for whatever is holding you back from receiving it.


This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10).

He loved us that much. Still does.

Think about that…and then think about whether or not holding onto your hatred is worth it…

The Biggest Lie

I think the biggest lie I ever told myself is that I would give myself to God once I fixed everything that was wrong in my life.

It made sense to me at the time because many, if not most of the Christian people I had known really seemed to have their stuff together, and I was nowhere near that. I had a friend that went to this enormous church in El Cajon, and the people I saw there all seemed to have these nice clothes, and nice cars, and two-thousand dollar smiles. They had all the confidence and surety about God that I desperately wanted, but had no idea how to get. I had nothing figured out, but how to jack up my life even worse.

So I somehow developed the thought that I had to fashion myself and my life after them if I was going to have any chance with God.

That made even more sense.

I was overweight, unhappy, desperately single, and had a hole down the center of me that it seemed like nothing would ever fill, and I tried plenty of things: food, codependency, alcohol, complacency, and casual relationships with several women that meant close to nothing to me.

Oh, I had heard the gospel many times. I knew about God’s promises, and I knew what it would take to redeem them, and to redeem myself.

But I wasn’t ready.

There was no way God would ever accept me the way I was. I didn’t have the perfect life of the people I saw at church. I had sinned–and continued to sin–daily, and without hesitation. I read later about Paul referring to himself as the worst of sinners, and that was how I felt, mostly without knowing exactly how to describe it.

I would have to clean up my act, and my life, and even my body, before I could begin to think about redemption for any part of my worthless self.

But there was one problem with that: it doesn’t say anything even remotely like that in the bible, and I knew that somewhere inside. I felt the truth of it even before Jesus was real to me.

Matthew 11: 28-30 says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Nowhere in that passage does it say a person has to have all their ducks in a row before they can find rest.

And maybe you feel the same way I did before I met Jesus, before hope entered my life for what felt like the first time in what had been a fairly desperate existence prior to that evening on the Colorado river.

Maybe you feel like you’re covered and steeped in sin that you just can’t seem to shake.

Maybe you’ve heard so many people tell you so many things about who you are you’ve given up on figuring out the truth of things.

Maybe you’ve begun to believe those lies you’ve heard about yourself and about God, and that if you approach him as you are–desperate and covered with the grime of life–that you will be rejected, and that’s just something you can’t take any more of.

But Matthew 11 speaks to the truth of who we are to Jesus.

“Come to me, all who are weary…”

It doesn’t say get your things together and come to me.

It doesn’t say beat your addiction first and I will accept you. Or lose 50 pounds and come to me. Or stop looking at porn on the internet.

Jesus just says, simply and beautifully, “Come to me….”

“Come to me.”

All who are weary.

I don’t know about you, but when I finally made the decision to give my life over to God, I was tired as hell, and getting more exhausted by the second.

Don’t be that person any longer.

Find rest for your soul.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”