Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Opposite of Love

Many times I've struggled to understand God's wrath. How do you reconcile such a severe and devastating part of His character with the concepts of mercy and grace? Yesterday a prayer printed in the margin of my Bible as a response to Jeremiah 4:22 struck me pretty powerfully.

"How your heart must grieve, loving and faithful Father. We are Your own, and yet we are so insensitive in knowing You and so skillful in hurting You. If You did not love us, You would not care. But the immensity of Your love only fuels the fire of Your wrath."

I had never thought of it like that before. It may sound simple or obvious to you, but it was almost revolutionary for me to think about the idea: that the immensity of His love fuels the fire of His wrath.

I once heard that the opposite of love is not hate, but apathy. Oftentimes (though not always), hate grows from love in a twisted sort of way; regardless, if you hate someone, you still have passionate feelings about them. Apathy is the opposite of love because when you are indifferent, you don't even care whether or acknowledge that that person exists. So it follows that God's wrath isn't an indication that His love has ceased. If He didn't love us, why would He get so angry? He could simply write us off, never looking back.

"Holy God, I thank You for Your wrath, the severe side of Your mercy, that pursues me until my heart turns in repentance and I stand face to face with You--terrified by Your holiness, appalled by my sin, amazed by Your grace, captured at last by Your love at the foot of the cross." (NIV Worship Bible, p. 1008)

6 comments:

K said...

Oh Amy, thank you for blogging. I spent all day talking about God's wrath (my sister is off the deep end right now) and I have never felt such confirmation from the Lord as when I read your page today. I am overwhelmed with how God speaks to us, and relieved that in my doubt, he still cared enough to confirm one more time for me. What a HOLY God we serve!

Morgan said...

I can't help but feel that sounds similar to a battered wife trying to justify her partner beating her...

Amy said...

Wow. I'm so baffled by the above comment, I don't have words...anyone?...

Jules said...

Um, yeah...I'm completely baffled as well. Maybe the comment was meant for another post/blog because it is so totally random and doesn't have ANYTHING to do with your post.

PS. Yikes

Amy said...

No, I can see how it relates to my post. The comparison is skewed, but it relates.

Jules said...

What is the comparison?