Life is hard. Sometimes suffering can lead people to question God’s existence, goodness, and character. When a person experiences loss or hardship in their health, finances, relationships, or another vital aspect of life, it may cause them to wonder if God is punishing them. They may even wonder if God hates them.
God doesn’t hate people who are suffering. He loves people. It’s God’s nature to love men, women, and children of all races, cultures, and social standings. He sent his son, Jesus Christ, into the world to seek and save the lost and redeem their suffering because he loved them.
Why do people sometimes think God hates them? Does God love everyone? If God doesn’t hate people, how can all the suffering and hardship in the world be explained? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.
Also, see Why Does God Allow Suffering? to learn more.
Understanding the Feeling of Being Hated by God
When life is hard, many people wonder why God doesn’t do more to help them if he is truly powerful, good, and loving.
Men, women, and even children may wonder if God is angry with them or doesn’t like them. Some even wonder, “why does God hate me?”
Sometimes, when things get hard, many people think, “Life isn’t supposed to be this way. I’m not supposed to get sick. She isn’t supposed to be laid off. He isn’t supposed to suffer like that.” Examples are plentiful.
The reason such tragedies occur at all, regardless of who is to blame (more on that below), is because people live in a fallen world.
Living in a “fallen world” refers to the Bible’s teaching that sin has infected the world and many aspects of life aren’t what God intended them to be.
People Have Free Will
God gave people free will. Many believe that without free will, people would be robots and never genuinely choose to love, obey, sacrifice, or willingly exhibit other virtues.
Free will enables people to choose God without being forced, yet it also enables them not to choose God, sin, and suffer its consequences.
Suffering may be the direct result of a sin that a person committed or the consequence of a sin committed against them.
Keep reading to learn about common reasons that people feel that God hates, Jesus’ response to this, and how to find comfort and assurance during dark times.
Common Reasons for Feeling Hated by God
There are several reasons why someone might feel hated by God.
One common reason is personal sin. When we make mistakes or act in ways that go against our Christian convictions, we may feel guilty and feel that God is angry with us.
Another reason is difficult circumstances. When we face hardships such as loss, illness, or financial struggles, we may wonder if God is punishing us.
Negative experiences with Christians and churches can also contribute to these feelings. If we’ve been hurt by leaders or other believers, we may project that onto God.
Lastly, a lack of understanding about God’s character can lead to misconceptions about His love and hate.
Why do people suffer as a result of their own sins?
A person’s choices have consequences, for good and bad, and sometimes suffering is the outcome. The Bible teaches that all people sin (Rom. 3:23). In other words, everyone makes mistakes.
Yet, the good news is that God is willing and able to forgive people’s sins because of the death and resurrection of Christ. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (ESV)
However, even though God forgives, people may still face consequences for their decisions.
Why do people sometimes suffer as a result of other people’s sins?
A child can suffer as a result of a parent’s sin. A citizen can suffer as a result of a government’s sin. An employee can suffer as a result of a business owner’s sin.
When people suffer as a result of their own sin, many people are more likely to consider it just. However, when people suffer as a result of another person’s sin, people are more likely to think it’s unfair.
Nevertheless, this is one of the unfortunate outcomes of living in a fallen world.
What about suffering that isn’t the result of anyone’s choices?
Natural disasters and certain physical afflictions aren’t the direct results of anyone’s choice, so how does the Bible explain this type of suffering?
When sin came into the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, it not only spread to every person but to all of God’s creation (Rom. 8:19-21). Even animals suffer the consequences of people’s rebellion against God. However, the corruption of the world doesn’t mean God hates people.
How did Jesus prove God’s love for people? Keep reading to learn more.
Also, see Is There Anything Too Hard for God? to learn more.
Jesus’ Death and Resurrection are Proof of God’s Love
The Bible teaches that God loves all people and sent his son to die for their sins.
John 3:16 reads, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (ESV).
If God hated people, he wouldn’t have sent his only son to seek and save them.
The death of Christ enables the redemption of all suffering. The result isn’t necessarily that all suffering is reversed or erased.
Yet, God is able to bring good from the suffering in this life (e.g., Gen. 50:20) and ensure that all ends well for believers in the next life (e.g., Romans 8:28).
Author Jerry Bridges writes, “If we want proof of God’s love for us, then we must look first at the Cross where God offered up His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Calvary is the one objective, absolute, irrefutable proof of God’s love for us.”
7 Bible verses on God’s love for people
|Psalm 86:15||“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”|
|Psalm 103:8||“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”|
|Jeremiah 31:3||“The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”|
|Lamentations 3:22-23||“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”|
|Romans 5:8||“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”|
|Galatians 2:20||“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”|
|Ephesians 2:4-5||“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—”|
Also, see How Tall Is God? to learn more.
How to Find Comfort and Assurance in God’s Love
Finding comfort and assurance in God’s love is essential when you’re feeling distant or unloved by Him.
Start by immersing yourself in Scripture. The Bible is filled with verses that affirm God’s love for us, such as Romans 8:38-39, which assures us that nothing can separate us from His love.
Spend time in prayer, talking to God about your feelings and asking Him to reveal His love to you. Remember that God’s love is not based on our performance or worthiness; it’s a gift freely given to us through Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8).
Surround yourself with a supportive community of believers at a Bible-teaching church who can encourage you and remind you of God’s love.
Engage in acts of service and kindness, as showing love to others can help you experience God’s love more deeply.
Lastly, be patient. Keep seeking God, and in time, you’ll experience the depth of His love for you.
Also see What Color Is God? to learn more.
The Importance of Support, Community, and Church
When you’re feeling hated by God, it’s crucial to seek support and community at a Bible-teaching church. It’s natural to feel isolated and alone in these moments, but you don’t have to go through it by yourself.
Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or spiritual leaders who can listen to your concerns and offer encouragement. Joining a church can also provide a safe space to share your feelings and receive support from others who may have had similar experiences.
Engaging in group activities, such as Bible studies or service projects, can help you connect with others and shift your focus away from your struggles.
Remember, you’re not alone in your journey. By seeking support and community, you can find the strength and encouragement you need to overcome feelings of being hated by God and experience the depth of His love for you.
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