On last evening's world news on ABC there appeared a report concerning Americans' views of God. Two researchers had done a study that discovered 28% of the studied population believe in an "authoritative" God - one who is judgmental but involved in the world. Another 22% accept a "benevolent" God who is engaged with the world but is a God of mercy and kindness. Other groups (percentages not included) believe in a "critical" God - one who judges at the end of one's life but is not too involved otherwise, and a "distant" God - one who has created the world and then left it to its own devices (something like the deists of the 18th century).
Reviewing my own life, I must admit that in my earlier years I would have fallen into the first category (the 28% who believe in an authoritative God) because I felt God would be judging my every action and finding me failing. Thanks be to my God I now find myself in the 22% who accept a benevolent God - one who is just but whose justice is tempered with mercy and love. This is the God Jesus Christ presented to the world and one I am happy to embrace in my beliefs.
To those who see God as "authoritative" or "critical" I would suggest they review the New Testament and find there the God Jesus wants us to find - a loving Father who loves us unconditionally with no strings or preconceptions. Will be make mistakes? Yes. Will we sometimes fail to be the people we ought to be? Absolutely. But God is always there to accept our desire for repentance and reconciliation with God or with others. God will never abandon us - the only way we can separate ourselves from God is by our own conscious effort to do so. Thank God that God is God.