A Loving God
God is Love
Many Christians and non-Christians both, have a warped and slanderous view and idea of God and His character.
When the Bible tells us in Exodus 20:4, that God is a jealous God. This can conjure an image of a God that is mad and raising His fists and shaking them at those that oppose His command to worship Him only. The word 'jealous' conjures up an idea of selfishness, suspicion, distrust, resentment, etc. But, this passage actually means that God is so excited about His people and zealous for their attention because there is an enemy in the world that seeks to destroy them. He is warning them of the dangers that will befall them if they were to turn from Him and go to another god (the enemy of all mankind). Much like when a father tells his child to not play in the street. This father is not stopping the child from having fun, rather he is protecting him/her from the dangers of being run over by a vehicle.
God's desire is not that we will stop having fun or discontinue an exciting lifestyle, but that we can find fun and excitement in Him. His desire is to turn us away from those things that will bring us harm and lead us to a life of destruction.
God has given each person a will of their own. He will not intrude upon another's will, unless they have handed their wills over to Him. His Will is that everyone come to salvation. But, we are responsible for our decisions in the end. Salvation is a decision.
God knows that the wages of sin is death and destruction. He knows that when we come to Him for salvation, we have made a decision towards righteousness and this has rewards such as eternal life.
God does expect us to do everything His way, but not because He is a control freak or overbearing or out to get us. He is God and He knows what works and what doesn't. He knows what is best and what is not. He knows what is good and what is evil. I mean, afterall, He is GOD.
Whatever God says or does, it is because He has such great love for us. And when we receive that love and submit to that love, the gratification and rewards are incomparable. His commands are not to scare us or to threaten us, but to guide us so that we can live a fulfilling and purposeful life both here on earth and the eternity to come. If His commands are ignored then we must expect to suffer the consequences.
God does not send people to hell. People make a decision to ignore Him and they may not necessarily realize it, but they are making a decision to go to hell. God will love us all the way to hell. There is heaven and there is hell and there is not in-between. There is good and there is evil and there is no in-between.
God has given us explicit instructions on how to get to heaven and how to pray and how to live righteously. What we do with those instructions will be honored by God .. either way.
He is a loving and caring God and He loves you and cares about you. Make the decision to allow Him to love you and care for you! Do not allow your past to make this decision for you. Do not allow another person to make this decision for you. Do not allow your emotions to make this decision for you. Do not allow experience to make this decision for you. Care enough about yourself to allow God to care for you!