God’s wrath isn’t what you think it is

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I wrote today’s #CoffeeTimePrayer devotional early yesterday, before the gun attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL left fifty people dead and at least fifty-three more injured. At the time I felt a little skittish about the post; it felt like it had no zing. But I wanted to get this message out, that God’s wrath isn’t what we think it is. I wrote:

We need to understand that God’s wrath – God’s anger – isn’t human anger. God’s wrath is not aimed at those who are unsaved, it’s aimed at that which prevents them from being saved: all the sin obstacles, all the wiles of Old Nick. That’s what’s getting the boot end of God’s anger: the sin, not the sinners. We like to think we can make this same distinction – hating the sin but loving the sinner – but of course we struggle with that, because our conception of a person blurs the lines between who they are, whose they are, and the sins they commit. God never has a problem with those distinctions.

Not many people read this little blog, but I wanted to add my voice (and faith) to the chorus of Christians who don’t think that this terrible act was somehow the wrath of God. Because these Christians? Oh, they’re out there. And even if they haven’t posted videos about themselves saying all kids of despicable things, those things are perhaps being thought in hearts hardened to a whole segment of God’s children because those children like people of the same sex.

This attack was not an act of God’s wrath; it was an act of evil. Perhaps instead of arguing about bathrooms, American Christians should turn the argument to something that is a real and legitimate threat to people’s safety. And perhaps we Christians in other countries need to realise that this isn’t just an American problem – it’s a Christian problem. Where are we putting creed above people, above love, above grace? Who are we condemning, what are we condoning, by our actions and inaction?

My prayers are with the families of those people murdered and the ones recovering. My prayers are with God, and I believe he gathers them up and nestles them tightly, adding them to a light unutterably bright, one that will not be doused by darkness.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

(Isaiah 43:2-3)

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