God is vindictive and cruel in the Old Testament but loving and kind in the New Testament. That is what My friend told me. He said, because God is so different in the two testaments, it is obvious to him that the Bible can’t be trusted. Is he right? See what you think. Here is a quote from the Old:
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;” (Psalm 103:8-13)
So, how did my friend get such a wrong idea? The key is in the last line. God has fatherly compassion toward those who “fear” Him. That word does not mean those who cower in fright, but rather, those who respect or revere God so thoroughly that they are eager to respond to what he says. If you had occasion to meet your favorite celebrity (actor, author, athlete – whatever) and he or she asked you to do something with them, how eager would you be to to say, “yes?” Like that, only much, much more because God is much, much more. Those who respond with awe and eagerness to God discover His love, His forgiveness, His goodness.
There was a math teacher in my high school whose reputation among the students was either, “really mean and vindictive, a nasty disciplinarian” or, “an amazing and gracious guy who would do anything to help you learn.” Guess what? Turns out he was the same guy.