The Apostle Paul wrote, “Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off” (Ro.11:22). Of course, there is a specific topic and context and if my goal were to evaluate the passage, we would consider them. My interest, however, is to emphasize that God’s love involves dealing with people and the situations they create in the most appropriate manner possible, all things considered. This involves incredible wisdom. It also involves a range of responses from kindness to severity (what I prefer to call severe kindness). Human beings often call God’s severe responses into question because we do not have His vantage point. It is our anemic version of love we should call into question. I tend to agree with Abraham who questioned affirmatively, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” As pointed out in a previous post, amputation, as severe as it is, is at times the most loving and just (an attribute of love) option. Many who use the terminology of love, justice and equality, frankly, have no idea about what they are speaking. Their approach fits into William F. Buckley’s example of conveniently labeling one who pushes an old lady away from an oncoming bus and one who pushes an old lady in front of an oncoming bus as people who push old ladies – failure and or refusal to use appropriate discernment.
The following chart, composed of paraphrases from Charles G. Finney, provides great reflective material that, when taken seriously, can correct our superficial ideas about God’s love.