A friend of mine claims the Bible says that God is violent and angry, and He takes pleasure in punishing people when they get out of line. Is this true? I'm not sure I want to believe in God if He is like that.
No, this is not what the Bible teaches about God. Instead, it tells us that God is merciful and loving, and He is far more patient with us than we’ll ever deserve. The Bible says, “You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love” (Nehemiah 9:17).
Don’t misunderstand me; this doesn’t mean God overlooks our sins or ignores us forever when we rebel against Him. God is holy and pure, and we must never forget this great truth. When we turn our backs on Him, eventually we’ll pay a price – a price of unhappiness and misery and defeat. Sin has consequences, both now and in eternity.
But God loves us in spite of our sins! He made us, and He knows that when we live apart from Him, we’ll always be empty and unfulfilled inside. Our greatest need is to know God – and God wants us to know Him! And He has done everything that was necessary to make this possible. He did this by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to become the final and complete sacrifice for our sins.
Do you want to know how much God loves you? Look at Jesus Christ, who willingly went to the cross for you. The Bible says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Discover His love by asking Him to come into your heart today.