A strange thing happened when I read through the Old Testament recently: I couldn't find the Old Testament god I heard so much about. The harsh disciplinarian, always ready to punish and destroy, whom gentle Jesus is constantly trying to shield us from, was nowhere to be found - I only found a loving, almost doting, Father who delights in blessing his people, One who promises blessing and only then warns of unpleasant consequences for disobedience. I found One who sends a succession of prophets to try and call His people back to Him before unleashing judgement. One who would say to a penitent king that his nation has gone too far to escape punishment, but because the king repented and turned to God wholeheartedly, judgement would be postponed until after his death. I found a God who cried as He watched his people going into utterly-deserved captivity. I found the God who gave his only-begotten Son to save my miserable life.
It's easy to go on hearsay, even from those who are supposed to be his spokesmen, and believe a lie, live a lie, stand outside while everyone is feasting inside. It's absolutely liberating to read the record of His activity in human history and fall on your knees in wonder as you discover real love.
I dare you to read His story. It might surprise you.