We read the Bible and take it literally, not understanding what each Book of the Bible means, whom the message was for, the translations that have altered the meanings, the inspired poems, imaginations, and literal words etc.
All we see are ways in which we are going to be punished.
God does not punish. We confuse consequence with punishment. God is love. Love is not punishment. God is merciful. Merciful is not punishment. God is patient. Patience is not punishment. God is faithful. Faithfulness is not punishment. God is kind. Kindness is not punishment. God does not punish. Humans punish. We punish because that is all we know of our world. This is how we were raised, this is how we treat each other, and this is how society operates. God does not operate as humans do.
For every action, there is consequence. We fail to bestow love, understanding and encouragement in our children, and they grow up not doing the same. This gets passed down generations. We all have fears and desires, and these drive our actions. We teach people around us, how to treat us, and each other, by our individual and cumulative actions.
We utilize offensive and defensive tactics to acquire, silence and control each other. We believe that we love and express love with the cruel and tactless words we use with our children and each other. We prefer to use tactics such as withholding love, silence and cutting people off, to receive a response acceptable to us. We believe that we do all these things with the best interests of those we love at heart, or better yet, that we are doing what is right for us.
How selfish. How self indulgent, how punishing.
God’s gifts are free. They do not have conditions on them. He gave the gift of Life in the crucifixion and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. He gave talents, gifts, families and friends for free. Whether we believe in Him or not, He is always there, providing the moon and sun on those destroying the Earth, watching His children suffer at the hands of cruel humans, for He also gave the gift of free will. Free will means that God sees but will allow. No one then, can come to Him by force, but by free will. In the same vein, one cannot say that s/he was not provided an opportunity to change destructive ways, or to rise above defeating circumstances.
We all determine God to be what we want Him to be, never really asking Him, who He is. We determine God using our earthly understanding, whereas God is Spirit, S/He is not a S/He, or an IT but Supreme. S/He does not reside upstairs somewhere, and fire and brimstone downstairs somewhere, God is everywhere, including in us. God is the person who loves you, the kind hand that helped you, the job that you got right on time, the hospital staff who looked after you, the grocer who sold you your food. God is everywhere, and He does not punish.
For every action there is a consequence. We fail to take care of our bodies, we fall ill. We misuse our money, it is spent. We stick to our pride, we miss out on opportunities. consequences most times, affect us on personal levels. People starve, burn, are raped, sodomized, kidnapped, injured, killed and mugged, amongst others. Life also happens. People we love fall sick or die, we fall sick, we lose jobs, we do not get married. None of these are because we deserve to be punished. God reaches out to us in Love and this alone. It is through Love, that he has unending Mercy on us.
We, decide whether we are worthy of love, opportunities or good things. We decide that we are terrible or good, and treat ourselves according to our judgements and punish likewise. I deserve this because I did the other. We do this to ourselves, not God. Whenever we turn to God, He does not punish us for not acknowledging Him sooner, or punish us along the way because we are not getting it, or punish us for not trying harder, believing in ourselves and each other, for treating each other so badly. He turns us to Him through love.
It is His amazing and powerful love that shames us, into turning away from our sinful lives. It is an awareness of His constant and unending love that encourages us, to keep striving to turn our lives. It is His persistent and teaching love that shows us, how He does not punish, just changes the world with love. It is His shining love that unveils our fears and pride, so that we may walk boldly in the light. It is His love that we know and share, so much so that, we do not know what has happened to us, just know that He happened to us.
God does not punish. There are consequences to our actions. We think we know what they are, but we are not God, only He does. We judge and punish each other, when we are in most need of mercy and forgiveness. It is again God’s love, that makes Him so forgiving of the repentent heart, and teaches us to do the same to each other, for as long as we all live.
So no, God does not punish. Ask Him to show you where you got that idea from.