Attack Of The Love Buts

Attack Of The Love Buts February 18, 2020

 

Try this experiment.

Step 1: Post “God is Love” on Facebook or Twitter.

Step 2: Wait 10 minutes.

Step 3: Read dozens of posts from Christians who are eager to remind you that God is love, BUT God is also a God of wrath.

This is my life. Almost every single week. I get responses from Christians – always Christians – who cannot allow a post like “God is love and all who live in love live in God, and God in them” rest on its own without adding the asterisk about God’s wrath.

Just last week I posted: “For those who say we focus on Love too much, please remember: God IS Love”.

The first comment was from a friend of mine, Leyna Nguyen, who is not a Christian. Her response was: “There are people who say this?!”

And around 5 comments below hers, the wave of wrath started to crash. 115 comments later, the post led us to statements like this one: “God loves and never stops but He also hates. Hate is not the opposite of love and God has shown He does both continuously.”

[sigh]

My friend Glenn Warner calls these people “Love Buts”, because when you remind them that God is love, they must respond by saying, “Yes, God is love, BUT…”

Why is this? Why are some Christians so insistent upon contradicting all the numerous verses in the New Testament that practically gush with the extravagant love of God?

I mean, this is just a small sample of the verses I’m thinking of when it comes to the love of God:

“For God so LOVED the world…” [John 3:16]

“The LOVE of God is higher, wider, longer and deeper than anyone can imagine”[Eph. 3:14-21]

“Nothing will ever separate us from the LOVE of God” [Rom. 8:31-39]
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through LOVE” [Gal. 5:6]

“LOVE is patient. LOVE is kind. LOVE keeps no record of wrongs.” [1 Cor. 13]

“God is LOVE.” [1 John 4:7-21]

Etc.

Do you know what you will never read following any of these pontifications on the amazing, unending, extravagant love of God?

You will never once read anything about the wrath of God to “balance” out this teaching.

You also never once read any statements about how you and I are unworthy of God’s love, or how we can’t earn or deserve God’s love.

Never. Not even once.

Instead, what we read is page after page, verse after verse of the fantastic, endless, transformative LOVE of God that is poured out on us night and day like a never-ending waterfall.

So, like it or not, we are loved.

What I don’t understand is why some Christians are so eager to shut down this love train. Why do they seem so afraid of a God whose character is love? Why are they threatened by a God who IS love?

Worse: Why are some Christians MORE afraid of a God of love than they are of a God of Wrath?

That’s what I legitimately do not comprehend.

Perhaps this is “Big Brother” syndrome? Like when the Prodigal Son returns home and the Father forgives him so completely and quickly and throws the party for him, it’s the older brother who can’t handle it. He hates the idea of this extravagant love being shared with his brother the “sinner” who deserves to sleep outside with the servants.

Maybe that’s the reason why some Christians today want to pencil into the margins of their Bibles a long list of wrathful God examples to balance out the overly-loving verses about a God who reconciles, forgives, embraces, restores, and loves His children no matter what they do.

What’s strange to me is that their New Testament scriptures don’t reflect their bias towards wrath, so they literally have to reach all the way back to the Old Testament – before Jesus came to us with the Gospel [and grace and truth] –  to find the pictures of a God they like better. Then they cut and paste that angry God’s face over the face of Jesus so they can sleep better at night; rest assured that they are loved and those other “sinners” are going to get what’s coming to them in the end.

But, I can’t buy that. I have to take the New Testament and the “Good News” of Jesus for what it is – Good News!

We are LOVED by a God who IS Love! We were created by this God of Love – in God’s image – so this means we are LOVED! Created by Love, in the image of LOVE, to BE Loved.

This is who we are.

Love is who God is.

Love is what God does.

Loved is who we will always be.

There is no “Love But…” verse in the New Testament. There is only love. Endless, boundless, unending, unrelenting, exceptional, amazing, fantastic, glorious love that we can only experience to believe and receive.

Hopefully one day those who call themselves followers of Jesus will relax and get comfortable with the idea of a God who really is love, inside and out. No “ifs”, “ands” or “buts” allowed.

Until then, I’ll just keep posting about the God who loves us more than life itself.

Won’t you join me?

**

Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife have returned to El Paso, TX after 25 years, as part of their next adventure. They hope to start a new house church very soon.

DID YOU KNOW? The Christian Church has always held 3 views of Hell from the very beginning? Learn more about the 3 Views of Hell in my new online class at BeADisciple.com starting March 9, 2020. REGISTER TODAY>
Keith’s new book, “Jesus Undefeated: Condemning the False Doctrine of Eternal Torment” is available now on Amazon.

Want Keith to come speak at your church or in your home town? Send an invitation HERE

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  • Jack Gillespie

    Keith,

    I started following you after listening to Jonathan Martin’s podcast; just great stuff! A number of years ago, I substituted “God” for “Love” in 1 Corinthians 13 because God is Love. It’s amazing!

    God is patient and kind. God isn’t envious or boastful. God isn’t proud. God doesn’t dishonor others, isn’t self-seeking, isn’t easily angered, and doesn’t keep record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    God never fails.

    Thank you for you work. I appreciate it especially in this time. Your book, Jesus Unbound, was a major eye-opener for a good friend of mine.

    Peace to you,

    Br Jack+

  • Herm

    can I disagree in all honesty?

  • Part of the problem I think, is the misunderstanding of A. The real consequences of sin, and B. Misunderstanding the “Wrath of God.” The Wrath of God” is not punitive in the sense that we understand “punishment,” but is restorative. Pur in the Greek translated “fire” s/b understood in the sense of burning off the weeds and stubble, bringing us into full communion with the Divine. On the other hand, We experience hell when we choose to make bad choices, but that is not saying God punishes us, but that we simply are “reaping what we’ve sown.” I con’t remember where I read it (maybe it was in your latest book?), but it was said that the wrath of God was us coming into total contact with God’s love, and the results of that collision.

  • Herm

    I guess than I can and hope that I may disagree, even with this explosive subject. Is it a sin, is it evil, to hate any influence that threatens to destroy those you love? What father, what mother, does not get angry, wrathful, to protect those they are responsible for and to? Is God complete in heart, soul and mind? Would my heavenly Father allow the sacrifice of the Son he knew and was well pleased to eternal death for his love of mankind? Would my heavenly Father do the same equally for all his Son’s disciples who carry their own cross?

    Wrath is not a “but” to “love”. I agree wholeheartedly with Kirk, the wrath witnessed of my perfect heavenly Father has never been punishment, it was always restorative. When wrath is restorative is only when love begets the the wrath.

    Hell, the cleansing fires of hell (which can only destroy the carnal body, but cannot touch the spirit), eternal death are not sentences of punishment predicated on out of control anger. The love for all, of God and Man, accepted by all who can, and will, in everything, do (in love) to others as they would have others do to them (as they love themselves) will live. Those who cannot will cease to be aware, influential and will be forgotten (they will die forever after their carnal body ceases) to those who live eternally. If they did not eternal life would be an eternal hell.

    Luke 14:26 (NIV2011)

    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

    My Father in heaven loves all of mankind, made in God’s image, which God is spirit, not carnal. If, and I truly believe it is not an omission, Jesus never said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate their father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” The Messiah says we must hate the family protective allegiance before and in place of the truth God offers to teach us forever in and with the Spirit. The Christ says not to look for him, the Father and the Spirit of truth led by the instructions of any carnal teacher of mankind. All of Man who tell me different use logic that attempts to make God carnal, subject to the same physical limitations that they live in, not pointing me to he who can teach me how God can make me one with him forever. I now hate all that teaches God’s wrath is like my parents’ wrath that reacted to spank me to welts or hit me to split my lip. God’s wrath is patient and kind. God’s wrath isn’t envious or boastful. God’s wrath isn’t proud. God’s wrath doesn’t dishonor others, isn’t self-seeking, isn’t easily angered, and doesn’t keep record of wrongs. God’s wrath does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God’s wrath always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    God’s wrath and hate is part God’s fullness of love, which, also, includes empathy, forgiveness, tolerance, and so much more. God’s fullness of love hates destructive influences that take any of those he/they love from him/them.

    It was never a sin to know of good and evil, never, and never will be. To know of anything that is true can never be a sin. God has always known of good and evil as truth and would want their little children to know that truth, also. It is a sin when that knowledge is used to not do to others as we would have others do to us, like not to share our graced available protection and shelter with those others seeking asylum from evil, as we would have others do for us seeking asylum from evil. Good can always be defined as constructive, and evil can always be defined as destructive. God is a fullness of all relational emotions, including hate and wrath (not but hate and wrath) which is wielded purely in love. Yes, we reap what we sow, even if sown out of blind ignorance.

  • Brandon Roberts

    yup.

  • Les Dossey

    Life is tragic in this consciousness and reality. The GOD of this world is FEAR. Everything and everyone including our love is ruled by FEAR.

    We know FEAR for they are our ocean.

    We know FEAR because FEAR is who we are. Our logic, reasoning and deduction is rooted in our FEAR. We are so completely unaware of how much FEAR is in control of our choices and actions that we actually thought is was a good idea to build a giant beast (a battlefield and prison) to cover our glorious garden planet and it’s crystal clear waterways.

    That battlefield is the marketplace and the prison is the entire infrastructure.

    All the structures, systems, languages, religions, institutions, governments, and organizations that make up our global society are utterly ruled by FEAR.

    Fear is our consciousness and our reality.

    Who we don’t know is LOVE!

    But the GOOD NEWS is LOVE knows us and LOVE has us.

    Every thing that exists exists within the consciousness of LOVE and THEY, LOVE concluded that no thing that exists can ever separate LOVE from LOVES LOVE.

    LOVE LOVES US ALL.

    We are ALL LOVE for WE are ALL within LOVE!

    Even FEAR is GLORIFIED within LOVE

  • “God’s wrath and hate is part God’s fullness of love” as long as it’s agreed the love persists and the hate/wrath once it’s served it’s purpose of love on the object it is unleashed upon goes away, I have no problem with this. God’s anger IS FOR A MOMENT, and HE WILL NOT ALWAYS BE WROTH, is the scriptures that teach this. God’s wrath is not forever, unlike His love and mercy.

  • Herm

    this has been chronicled and repeated throughout many different ages of mankind, which is apparently the only species on earth seeking relationship with a spirit entity sensed “but” unknown to every carnal nerve:

    *** so, in everything, do to others as you would have others do to you ***

    like that:

    *** love your neighbor as yourself ***

    applying and testing such admonition proves to most that mankind attracts to be more joined by a common bond of empathy, forgiveness, support, and many more associations in care (LOVE) for others like me.

    FEAR repels one from another.

    *** so, in everything, fear others as you would have others fear you ***

    like that:

    *** fear your neighbor as yourself ***

    applying and testing such admonition proves to most that mankind “circles the wagons”, from those they fear, joined only with those they are bonded with in love, as they have for themselves alone.

    Yes, without the salvation offered from he who proved God is nothing to fear because God is willing to die first to temporary carnal, we know, that mankind might live in eternal spirit, we don’t know, mankind dies suffocating in an ocean of fear.

    When I came to know the God (by any name who is the spirit entity before the beginning we all sense) continually with me and in me I lost all fear of God, no longer unknown to me. He/she/they, in everything, first, do to me as they would have me do to them, without exception. They love me as themselves.

    We, together, do not hide behind our sanctuary walls, only inviting in those daring enough to step through our doors that are otherwise shut to them, for our peace from fear. We only worship God in the Spirit and in truth, together, with and in all we do and are bound in love.

    Oh, if this saved scripture witness were only true, there would be no fear ruling our life carnal and spirit:

    John 14:15-21 (NIV2011)

    “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

    I testify that is true, tested and applied to remove all fear except of those who remain separate in fear, not love, of a God unknown.

    Thanks Keith and Kirk, this I believe is most apropos for this moment:

    “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
    This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.
    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

  • Herm

    Brett, I love you, and in this moment, I love that you embellish my child’s rendition of God’s fullness of love.

    As I was reading your reply, I could not help but reflect on a time, or two, when driving my car on a public highway, I was overwhelmed (as children become when first trying out their new relational muscles) with “road rage” because someone endangered my, mine or another’s life with only a consideration of their own self centered goal in heart and mind. Oh, my wrath surfaced to inspire a concerted effort to bring the offender’s attention to the fact that her/his actions were beyond tolerable. My wrath was not to punish but to end even more threats to those I love, including the offender. That is not what you tickled in me to most reflect on. In fact, I would be humiliated if I left it with that.

    What is most intriguing to me is, since I have been with and in the Teacher of all truth as I can bear to accept it, the next day, as I and the offender passed on the highway, there was no wrath, only mercy, forgiveness, love. Sometimes there was even a shared wave to replace yesterday’s exchanged “flip off”.

    Love is a bond that joins us together. Wrath is a moment of strength in an immediate effort to save those we love. Like the super human strength a little old lady has had to lift the car off of her grandchild.

  • Amen. Such children perceptible love is always the love and heart of God.

    Maybe that’s why we are to told to come to God as a child…as we mature we tend to weaken the power of love, diminish it, instead of celebrating it’s eternal conquering power.

  • Nimblewill

    Perfect! I shared this exact exercise with our church leaders a few months back. Lot’s of blank stares but a couple of “good stuff” comments.

  • Nimblewill

    “There is no more staggering statement in the whole range of scripture than this.” Martyn Lloyd Jones in reference to Ephesians 3:19 To know the love of Christ …….is to be filled with all the fullness of God.

  • Daddy Sockdragger

    Dear Keith Gilles. Please change the title picture of your post. When I started reading, I thought it was about how our common symbol for ‘heart’ was actually an arse drawn upside down.

  • There is no balance in God. The idea that there needs to be is an entirely man-made concept, based on our unwillingness to really believe that God is as good as He claims to be.