Defining God is difficult.
He is Holy... Psalm 99:5
He is Love... I John 4:8
He is Righteous... Ezra 9:15
... and the list goes on.
Have you ever made one of those lists, maybe in Sunday school, of names and attributes of God starting with each letter of the alphabet? I have. They are kind of fun.
... and the list goes on. I won't write all 26 of them here :).
Sometimes I think in our limited, finite, human thinking we have difficulty grasping the totality of God. Ok, I don't "think" that, I KNOW it. O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep (Ps. 92:5). For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD? (Ps. 89:6). We often tend to focus on one or two aspects of His character instead of the bigger picture. Then we begin to shape our thinking based on those select few traits. After our thinking has succumbed to this, our actions follow. For example.
The Bible says God is angry with the wicked every day (Ps. 7:11). He will pour out His wrath on the wicked (Nahum 1:2). God hates sin. It's right to hate what God hates. Christians should be angry against wickedness. They start thinking like this more and more. They become more offended at sin and wickedness that's all around them. Soon, if they're only thinking about how angry God is their actions will reflect this attitude. They advocate things like the public burning of holy books of false religions. They proclaim that God hates homosexuals. They spew hellfire and brimstone in the most awful and derogatory ways, because God HATES sin! They are angry! Full of righteous indignation! The emotions have taken over.
The Bible also says God is love (I John 4:8). It says that Christians are to love one another (I John 4:7). It's right to love. Christians should love everyone equally, because God is no respecter of persons. They start thinking more and more like this. Soon, if they're only thinking about how loving God is their actions will reflect this attitude. They must be careful not to offend, because that would be unloving. They don't warn people about hell, or condemn sin too harshly, because that wouldn't be very loving. They don't judge. They aren't confrontational. They just love everyone! God is not a mean guy in the sky waiting to strike you down at the first chance He gets. He loves you. He has a plan for you. He wants you to be part of a wonderful destiny that He created for you. They are full of love. The emotions have taken over.
I sincerely hope that you can see the error in both these ways of thinking. Those who propagate a God of wrath and anger neglect His attributes of forgiveness, grace, mercy, and compassion. God is all these things equally. Those who focus only on God's love forget He is also holy, just, and righteous. He will punish sin, and He requires repentance. Both these views are partially right. Both are completely wrong in and of themselves. God is not just an "either/or" Being. He is ALL!
He is completely LOVE.
He is completely RIGHTEOUS
He is completely MERCIFUL
He is completely HOLY
He is completely COMPASSIONATE
He is completely JUST
... etc... ALL...
He will never change!
Lately, I've been trying to remember that God is ALL! How we think of God will always shape how we live as Christians. It always will. If we are motivated by God's wrath, we will act accordingly. If we are motivated by His holiness, the same will be true. If we forget He is love, our actions will reflect that. God is perfect. He is completely balanced. We simply cannot pick one attribute of God and put all our time and effort into just that. We will miss the bigger picture. We will become guilty of error. We will only be a part of what God wants us to be. Unless we try to see God for all that He is, we won't fully be living as He wants us to.