One of the ways that we image the divine is as an authority figure like the King or the Lord. We project the behavior of the King or the Lord onto God.
In my experience God is never punitive or cruel.
God transcends these things.
God is always patient and kind, forgiving, merciful, and compassionate.
Why would God tell us to be compassionate if He was not compassionate Himself?
Why would God tell us to be non-violent (ahimsa) if He was not non-violent Himself?
The Father is another example of projecting our experience of our own fathers onto God (eg: the dispenser of punishments, harsh and distant, a disciplinarian)
These are subconscious associations with God's titles.
But its love that counts.
The mind may be open and full of light, even enlightened, but the center is in the heart.
If you have not love it is nothing