God Can Love You and Be Angry at You at the Same Time

It’s Valentine’s Day. “A shy young guy goes to a restaurant and sees a beautiful girl sitting alone. He gathers some courage, goes to her table and asks: “Mind if I sit here beside you?”

She responds loudly: “No! I don’t wanna go out on a date with you!” Everyone at the restaurant turns and stares at the guy. The guy, shocked and embarrassed, goes back to his table.

After a few minutes the girl slowly walks to him, apologizes, and says, “I’m a student in Psychology and studying how people respond to embarrassing situations.”

The guy responds loudly: “What?! P3000?! That’s too much for a date!”

Everyone stares at the girl.

The guy whispers to her, “Do not mess with an Accounting student.”[1]

 The question now is, “Can God love you and be angry at you at the same time?” My answer is yes. Hosea shows us that God loves Israel at the same time God hates Israel, when Israel worships idols.

You’ve heard the words, “God hates the sin but loves the sinner.” But in the Bible, God hates the sin and also hates the sinner. Psalm 1:6 says, “The Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” Psalm 2:12 says, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled.” John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

The problem is that we separate the sin from the sinner. But the sin and the sinner are one. God hates both the sin and the sinner. Thus, you cannot say that God hates your sin, but loves you at the same time. Actually, God hates the sin and the sinner at the same time.

But God hates the sin and the sinner only as a response of His holiness, because we have sinned against Him. God loves the sinner, not as a response to the sinner’s love, but out of His character of love, his nature to love the sinner. That is why God loved the world that He gave His only Son.

We go back to the question, “Can God love you and be angry at you at the same time?” The answer is yes. God is angry at you, because you have offended Him by your sin. But God loves you, because love is the character of God.[2]

The next question is, “Where did God show His anger and love for you at the same time?” The answer is, at the cross. Where do you see God’s wrath for you? At the cross. Where do you see God’s love for you? At the cross.

John tells us in 1 John 4:10-11, “this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (ESV) There are two big differences between our love and God’s love. Our love dictates our will most of the time. But God’s love agrees perfectly with God’s will all the time.

Now John is telling us to love one another, as God has loved us. Do you have an unlovable husband or child? You are to love him not because he or she is lovable. You are to love him as God has loved you, with a love that works with the will to love, despite your imperfections.

Do you know of someone you don’t like? You are to set your love for her or him not because he or she is lovable, but because God has loved you by His will, and not from your own loveliness or unloveliness.

Because God has loved us so, we should also love one another.

[1] Adapted from “Don’t Mess with an Engineer!”, Making It In The 21st Century. Cited February 18, 2014. Online: http://lifeandtimesreviews.blogspot.com/2011/09/dont-mess-with-engineer.html.

[2] Carson, The Difficult, 69.

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