A popular misconception today's society has with Christianity, is that its god is an overzealous, overbearing, strict, unforgiving, and homophobic god. Perhaps he is. No one will know, but religion in general is a lifestyle. It connects people, gathers them in a common cause and in the common desire to do good and be good. Religion essentially is a lifestyle, a guideline on how people channel their restless energy/spirituality. In no way is this article meant to convert a reader or to elevate Christianity over another religion. This article is meant to enlighten others on Christianity, and to help its members struggling to come to terms with its God. However, in order to talk about God, one must first talk about love. Because God in Christianity and in practice is love.
Love in the Old Testament is portrayed as a relationship between God and his people. God, who is depicted as an ever-powerful and ever-loving being; quick to reprimand and punish, but still able to forgive. God’s love for his people goes beyond the bounds of agape love, charity, and normal hesed. His love is based on divine hesed which exceeds plain hesed as it focuses on prolonging the relationship and not just giving and loving the other on a current needs basis. Our hesed is determined on a circumstantial basis: how much a person needs, and if we are the only person able to provide the solution to their needs. However, as Christians, we are charged to go beyond that. Leviticus 19:34 highlights the idea that we must extend our realm of hesed and help strangers. For to be charitable and loving towards others, we must give hesed, which is consideration and love for our neighbor, as well as reverence for God.
On the other hand, love in the New Testament shifts its focus onto expanding the definition of neighbor, and thus, on to a kinder God. As stated, this was probably due to the audience both Synoptic writers and on were addressing: non-Jewish public. Love, in the New Testament, is put to the test - and God, in turn, is altered for the eyes of the Gentiles. His role from a reprimanding deity turns into a gentle parent, as He charges his new disciples of this time to spread his word. Through Jesus and his disciples, God beseeches the Jews, his chosen people, to spread the word, to show that the sun rises on both “the good and the bad alike…” (Matthew 5:45). Love is undiscriminating, and should be given out freely, and not to those just in need; it is an act of reconciliation because it is an act of giving yourself over to the other person in need. God loves all and will always remain unbiased in his charity, so therefore, we must strive to emulate the very same unprejudiced forgiveness and love he gave us.
Hesed is not just an action, but a reciprocation of our compact with God; to channel our charity into hesed love for others, we must act with the Decalogue in my mind. Only by heeding the Commandments are we able provide a pure kind of hesed that God implores us to offer to our neighbors - which is everyone. Combined, the Old and New Testament preaches to us to give our love without biases, and without hesitation. We are to treat others as a reflection of God, and as an extension of ourselves. By offering our help regardless of the situation or person, we can come a bit closer to emulating that kind of selfless love. By keeping the other individual’s needs in mind before ours, we can hope to reciprocate our compact with God. Matthew said that God made the sun rise for both the good and the bad alike, and so, we must learn to love without prejudice as love is our only was at redemption and reconciliation with others. Doing harm to others would just prove fruitless either way, as God, gives the final judgement - not us; we harm our reputation more so than others by refusing to love them. By reaching out to others even with the smallest acts of kindness and charity, we make a little bit of this love more present in the world.
So if you are Christian, you can't choose a God. You have to come to terms with the fact that God has been both strict, punishing, and kind and forgiving. Because that is what exactly love is. Punishing and forgiving. Kind and strict; ever-evolving.
God adapts. God forgives. God will accept. God learns.
Our people, the public, are different from the people of both the Old and New Testament. Today's people don't need to be appealed to, they don't need a strong figure with power to find haven under, they need an ear, a shoulder, a friend, and love.
They need someone who embodies the sanctuary and love that God had given His people in both Old and New Testament.