“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” (Psalm 145: 8 NIV)
Slow to anger, rich in love. Two traits of God we should all emulate. God’s patience with us is grace. He doesn’t respond in anger, He responds in grace. My current prayer is simple: grace not anger. I want to respond to people with grace, not anger. Having grace for others is something we can only do with God’s help.
Think of a toddler who is constantly falling down. As you watch them learn how to walk, you don’t get angry. You smile at their attempts and help them back up when they need it. We’re the toddlers in God’s eyes. He watches us take steps of faith. He watches us when we falter. He helps us back up when we need it. He’s rich in love for us because we’re at least trying. And even if we don’t try, He still loves us.
Grace not anger, love not hate.
In our humanity, responding in grace and love is difficult. My husband and I went golfing. Our plan was to walk nine holes. I have a three-wheel cart I use to push my bag along. My husband carries his. He forgot my cart. I went from a good mood to a bad mood in a matter of seconds. Anger consumed me. How could he forget the cart? My immediate response was not grace. I wanted to punish him for forgetting. I made him carry my bag to the pro shop. None of my actions were grace filled, I’m embarrassed to admit.
But then there’s God. The Holy Spirit started to nudge me in my anger. I recognized I was overreacting to the situation. My anger didn’t subside immediately. I had to work to control my emotions. I had to allow reason to enter into my thinking. I had to pray, “Grace not anger.” Those three words became my mantra. And the anger subsided.
I apologized to my husband. I understand his actions were not intentional. Even if they were intentional, anger is not the response I want to have. I want to respond the way God responds to me: slow to anger, rich in love.
When we turn to God in the midst of our sin, He’s not angry. He rejoices:
“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10 NIV)
God rejoices when we turn to Him. He is slow to anger, quick to love. The only way we can respond like God is with God. For whatever difficult relationship you’re dealing with today, pray “Grace not Anger, Love not Hate.” Watch how God uses a simple prayer to change your life.
Question of the Day:
Who do you need grace and love for today?
Further Reading:2 Kings 10:32-12:21 NIV, Acts 18:1-22 NIV, Psalm 145:1-21 NIV, Proverbs 18:1 NIV