Love and judgment are two different things, not opposites, so they can exist together. A federal judge can sentence lawbreakers to prison and still go home and love his kids. Love and hate can also exist together. When we love something, we sometimes hate its opposite. I like it when things are neat and organized, such as an orderly home. By implication, I hate disorderliness. I love it when people treat me well; I hate it when they’re rude.
God loves good; this means he hates evil. God loves us; he is also loves justice. Like any good judge, he will note the evil that men do. The day is coming when God will judge everyone and give us what we deserve. But he will also forgive the wrongs when we turn to him in repentance. One verse that combines his love and justice is Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is like a federal judge offering up his son to take the place of the man he has condemned to death: Justice with compassion. God must judge sin, but in love, God chose to punish his son in our place so he could pardon us of all our sins.
We need to be careful not to over-simplify God and make him into a two-dimensional cardboard character. We make this mistake when we overemphasize a general observation (such as his love) and forget he has other traits. That’s like insisting that we compose a painting using only one color. God is love, but that is only one of his attributes. When you paint him with all the colors in the Bible, you’ll end up with a picture of surpassing beauty and majesty!
What Do You Think?
a. Have you ever demonstrated love to one person and still justified passing judgment on another person?
b. If you answered yes to the above question, does this show a defect in your character, or an innate ability to see that different people and situations demand personalized approaches?