Slow

” . . . slow . . . “

“The Lord is merciful and loving,
    slow to become angry and full of constant love.” (Psalm 103:8)

Not long ago Patti and I were surprised by some wild turkeys as we were leaving a park.  I was amazed at how close they allowed me to walk and take photos.  Then suddenly, one turkey went from tolerance to “don’t mess with me!” in the blink of an eye.

The wild turkey was certainly right in protecting his territory.  It just surprised me at how quickly he went from, “we’re okay here,” to, “don’t mess with me!”  Come to think of it, the encounter sort of reminded me of some folks I’ve known.

The scripture doesn’t say, “The Lord never gets angry.”  It says, “The Lord is merciful and loving, slow to become angry and full of constant love.”  There are two important points in that scripture that we should consider as directives for our demeanor and behavior.  First, anger is not the Lord’s nature.  The Lord’s nature is mercy and constant love.  In other words, mercy and constant love are what the Lord leads with.  It concerns me today that I see leaders from various venues, be it politics, entertainment, social groups, or some other, that are building constituencies based on anger.  They lead with anger, they foment anger, and they relish anger.  If that’s their nature, then I want to be as far away from them as possible.  What does it say about someone that they want to follow a leader or group with anger as its very nature, anger as its message, and anger as its agenda?

Second, the scripture says that when the Lord is angry, the Lord is slow to anger.  When folks allow anger to become part of their nature it makes it very, very easy for them to angrily erupt in lightning speed.  In turn, this becomes incredibly destructive for individuals and relationships.  Tremendous damage can be inflicted before anyone has a chance to ask questions, offer other perspectives, consider the feelings of others, etc.  On the other hand, being slow to anger can offer the opportunity for a course correction before a tumultuous conflagration occurs with sometimes, irreparable damage.

Practicing God’s nature of mercy and constant love can help us become slow to anger.  Practicing mercy and constant love can also help us make wise choices and avoid falling into step with those who foment anger.  I pray that God will help me practice the same mercy and constant love that Jesus embodied.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,

Gary

Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24

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~ by revgenelson on August 26, 2015.

One Response to “Slow”

  1. VERY GOOD. JERRY NEEDS TO READ THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I WILL PRINT THIS OUT FOR HIM. THIS IS ONE THING I’M NOT GUILTY OF. GIVE PATTY A HUG FROM ME. THANKS FOR THE ARTICLE

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