Is God Inclined to Criticize or Bless?

Some Christians struggle with viewing God as holy, majestic, huge, powerful, and fearful. They more naturally are drawn to his intimacy, immediacy, tenderness, and love. On the other hand, many Christian struggle with the exact opposite. God's majesty, sovereignty, and massiveness is more of their default view of God, while his tender, personal love is harder to taste. 

As for me, as I live my life I usually am in the latter category. I default to viewing God as high above it all, and struggle more with believing in his personal love for me. I often subtly think, 'He is so big, how could he love me personally and closely?'

Is He Critical or Loving?

People like me–who fall into the category of seeing God as massive, but struggling to see his close love–often view God as critical. Why? Because he is so holy, and we know we are not. Plus, there are many passages in the Bible where he shows forth his holiness by requiring complete obedience (which is why we need Jesus!). But the problem with this view is that it becomes unbiblical when God then is viewed as a critical, unloving authoritative figure. As a result, we have to constantly remember that yes, he is strong and holy, but that the Bible also teaches that in his strength and holiness, he is our Father, he is love.

I personally struggle with this as I often do not believe that God is aimed and ready to bless me. I think that, since I struggle with sin day in and day out in numerous ways, that he must be up there constantly criticizing me. As I need to relearn over and over, this is not only hindering to my faith, but it is a misrepresentation of my blessed (which means 'happy') God (see 1 Timothy 1:11) and Father.

How Much More...!

On this, Jesus tells us who our Father is by using a simple argument. Follow his clever logic:

Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:9-11)

Jesus here is showing how holy and loving our God is. And he does it by appealing to our own parental love. It is a clever argument. He could just have said, "God is loving. Of course he'll answer you!" Instead, he first appeals to our own parental love, saying, "You know what it is like to love your child. You know what it is like to see their joy when you give them something. When you give them their favorite food when their hungry. When you give them a birthday present they've been looking forward to."

But he doesn't stop there. In order to make his argument he adds, "And you're evil! You're stained with sin." Why does he do this? Because if we, who are stained with sin, can love our children with a genuine love, if we can delight in giving them gifts, then imagine what our Father who is in heaven (meaning, without that evil and sin!) feels when he gives us things! Imagine his readiness to answer! The joy he gets when he blesses! The delight he gets from giving!

If we love to give good things to those we love, and we're evil and broken, just imagine how much more our perfect, loving, wealthy God must desire to give! Our desire to and joy in giving is only a taste of his.

Viewing God as Inclined to Bless

Personally, this helps me a lot. I logically know that biblically God is not critical and nasty, and that he is ready to bless, but Jesus' argumentation above gives substance to the sometimes ethereal idea. His argument takes my own desire to love as a father, and points me upward and shows me that this is only a hint of who God is, of how he smiles upon me as an infinite-intimate Father because of Christ.

So may we all view God as he is. He is the original, loving Father–the source from where we get any of our genuine parental love. We all love to love others genuinely, and we are stained with selfishness and sin. And so imagine how God, who is the source of it all and who isn't stained, is inclined to love us right now! Let's believe this about him, view him this way, and therefore have a relationship with him based on who he truly is.