Non-Christians often have a view of God in which they see Him as someone who is out to punish rather than pardon; someone out to destroy rather than save.
They miss this important truth: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
I have found an illustration like this helps unbelievers change their perspective:
Years ago, a radio station told about a man who stole a car in California. Police engaged in an intense search for the vehicle and the driver even to the point of announcing on local radio stations that they needed to talk to him.
Why? The front seat of the stolen car had a box of crackers that, unknown to the thief, were laced with poison. The owner of the vehicle had intended to use the crackers as rat bait. The police and the owner of the car wanted to find him to help, not harm. All the while, he was running from them thinking they were out to punish him.
God is out to save, not destroy. Look no further than the cross for proof. He allowed His Son to die on a cross in our place and take the punishment that we deserved, so we could be forgiven of our sin forever. We run from Him thinking He is out to punish us, when the truth is He wants to save us.