“But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15
I’ve been reading and re-reading this verse and others like it this past week. It doesn’t seem to be an overly complex verse and yet it is so deep, so loving and so profound. I am not always slow to anger. It is who I want to be, yet I am continually challenged.
Anger comes from a feeling of injury and is often accompanied by a desire to seek revenge. We have been wronged and we need to be right. Even in my “pet peeves”, I want the other person to feel my pain (irritation, frustration and inconvenience might be more accurate) because then they will understand and stop doing what bothers me. I want them to care about me.
When the Bible talks about God being slow to anger, it is often accompanied by other traits such as compassionate and gracious, abounding in love and faithfulness, and ready to forgive. God is slow to anger because of who He is, not because of who we are, what we’ve done or what we deserve. God is not slow to anger because He wants us to care about Him, but because He cares about us.
Of course, God does want us to care, He does long for us to love Him and be in relationship with Him; but who He is does not depend on who we are.
God is compassionate – He offers empathy and understanding. Jesus lived this life and understands every trial, temptation and trouble that comes our way.
God is gracious – He is kind, merciful and generous. God knows our weaknesses. Our situations, circumstances and choices change when we rely on Him rather than on ourselves; when we receive the Grace He so generously gives.
God is love – He abounds in love. God so loved that He gave His one and only Son. Love sums up everything He does and says. When we do what He does and say what He says, His love fills us to overflowing.
God is faithful– He is believable, trustworthy and reliable. He never leads us astray and His promises are always true. Being slow to anger does not mean there are no consequences for our actions. His warnings are as true as His promises.
God is ready to forgive – He waits for us to come to Him. He has provided a way that cannot be changed, challenged or revoked.
God is slow to anger – He is patient with each of us wanting none to perish. Out of His love and faithfulness, compassion and grace, He has made a way for us to be forgiven and reconciled to Him.
Something to Consider…
God could make us prove ourselves worthy, trying to climb the ladder to get to Him. He could be angry every time we miss the mark. Instead, He lets us stop, admit our failings, and meet Him at the foot of the cross.
As you consider God’s compassionate, gracious, loving, faithful and forgiving character, which of these traits do you want to understand and exhibit more in your own life? How can your patience with others grow and deepen your relationship with God?
Ask Him to show you how you can make a difference in the lives of those around you when you are slow to anger and rich in His love.