Dear Dr. Graham:
I’ve heard people say that we ought to love God, but how can I love God when I know he’s keeping a record of all the bad things I’ve done and will punish me severely when I die? I’m afraid of God, but I don’t love him.
— Mrs. C.R.
Dear Mrs. C.R.: If God is only a strict, harsh, unforgiving judge who is only interested in punishing us when we get out of line, then I can understand why you find it hard to love him. And I’m afraid this is how many people see God.
But this isn’t the whole story! Yes, God is holy and righteous, and every sin we commit is an offense against him. But God is also loving and compassionate — and he wants to forgive us and welcome us into his home forever! If God were only interested in punishing us, then none of us would have any hope — because we’ve all sinned. But God also loves us — and that makes all the difference. The Bible says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail” (Lamentations 3:22).
How do I know God loves us? I know it because he sent his son, Jesus Christ, into the world for one reason: to make our salvation possible. Do you want to know if God loves you? Look at Christ, for he is the final proof of God’s love.
By a simple prayer of faith open your heart and life to Jesus Christ today. Then thank him for his love for you. Thankfulness drives out fear and opens our hearts to God’s love. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).