Fishes and Loaves

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By Chip Brogden

God Hates Sin (Because He Loves the Sinner)

You may hear preachers talk about a God-shaped vacuum in every man’s heart that only God can fill. Is it too much to imagine that perhaps there is a man-shaped vacuum in God’s heart that only man can fill?

If this seems far-fetched, consider God’s initial reaction to mankind as a whole when it became clear that sin had consumed them all. Scripture says that when God saw every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually, He was grieved in His heart (Gen. 6:6). The Hebrew word “grieved” here is a rich, full word that carries with it many emotions, including worry, anger, grief and (here is what I want us to see) hurt. God was brokenhearted! Why this flood of emotion? Of course, there is the obvious fact that men have fallen into sin and are killing one another. “God hates sin!” the preachers scream. Everyone knows that God hates sin — but why does He hate sin?

Here is a picture of what Sin really is: The Lord comes down to commune with the man in the cool of the day, as usual. But this time the man is nowhere to be found. So the Lord begins to call out, “Where are you?” The man, shaking and trembling in the bushes, is too afraid to come out and commune with God as before. The man has lost something priceless — but can you not see that the Lord has lost just as much?

Sin makes people hide from God, so that God is left by Himself, calling out to people who are too afraid to respond. There are billions of people on the earth today, and most of them are hiding in the bushes while God calls out to them. Is this not a pitiful situation? Then what truly grieves God the most? That the one being in all of creation with whom He may have a close relationship does not have Him in their thoughts at all; indeed, they are running in the opposite direction, quite oblivious to the Lord, quite apathetic to His desire towards them, quite complacent to seeking Him at all, quite afraid to even respond if they knew how.

If there is anything worse than having no one to love, it would have to be loving someone and seeing that love ignored altogether. This brings us to a very important characteristic of love: whenever we love someone, we essentially give him or her the power to hurt us. If you ask parents what is their greatest source of pleasure and pain, they will say it is their kids. If we dare to love someone, or care for them, or watch over them, or if we dare take responsibility for bringing life into the world, then we are making ourselves vulnerable to being hurt by the very thing we love. This explains why some people swear never to love again once they have been hurt by a relationship. If love is that painful, why love at all? Because love is so great that it is better to love with the chance of being hurt than to not love at all. It underscores just how risky love can be.

Fortunately for us, God is Love, and His Love never fails. He believes you are worth the risk!

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