My daughter and her children came over for dinner a few days ago. Six year old Zoey was not interested in what I made for dinner and made it plain by whining and complaining. When her mother sent her out of the room, she expressed her displeasure by crying loudly for the rest of our meal. It broke my heart to hear her, but I was glad that my daughter loved her enough to discipline her. Eryn’s response was more godly than mine. She cared about Zoey’s bad behavior. I cared about Zoey’s crying.
God hates sin. But He loves the people who sin. That’s why it breaks His heart.
When I read the Old Testament, I see lots of evidence of God’s hatred of wickedness. He destroyed the whole world with a flood because everyone in it was wicked. He flattened Sodom and Gomorrah with brimstone because everyone in them was wicked. And He ordered the Israelites to kill everyone in Jericho because everyone in them was wicked.
Stories like these make it easy to wonder if somehow God changed from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Was He angry and judging in the Old and loving and gracious in the New?
I could try (badly) to show His grace in the Old Testament and how He still hated sin in the New Testament. Or I could try (again, badly) to explain the doctrines of Total Depravity and Limited Atonement. But I won’t.
This little verse in Genesis gave me a new perspective on God’s response to sin. I’ve always known that He hates it. But I didn’t know that it hurts Him. When He looked down on the earth at the time of Noah and saw that everything people thought or imagined was totally evil, His heart broke.
When I sin, I break God’s heart.
That’s the most powerful reason I’ve ever had to resist temptation.