Doctor Luke records a parable of Jesus. It is about a noble man who, before going on a journey, entrusts three servants with varying amounts of money to invest for him. The first two invest their amounts and earn a good return, apparently doubling their stakes. The third however, to whom little is entrusted, makes no effort to invest it. He lazily does nothing and merely returns the original amount to his master. This is done under the guise of keeping it safe, calling his master a “hard man.” The master judges him accordingly, taking the money away from him and giving it to the first servant.
Although we must guard against reading too much into a parable, the noble man in this one parallels God. When the servant declares that the noble is a “hard man,” is this a characteristic that we can apply to God? At first glance it is difficult, perhaps even seeming sacrilegious, to call God “hard,” but is there truth that can be gleaned form this? In balancing the paradox of a God of love with a God whom we fear, does a “hard” God fit somewhere into the picture of who he is?
For those who think God will give them a free pass regardless of how they act or what they do, the image of God as hard, that is a strict God, might be a good characteristic for them to ponder.
However, there are also those who view God as mean and vindictive, just waiting for them to mess up so that he can inflict ill-will upon them. Their view of God is already way too “hard”; they will do well to focus on his loving nature instead.
Yes, God does have a hard side to him, but that’s not all there is to him; he is also loving and gentle.