When I got home from the airport last week, Michaela was crying and everyone was talking while grandma was trying to buckle her into her car seat. We were parked for too long at the pickup curb and the lady came up and told us to move. I snapped at her quite rudely.
I got a huge and unexpected bill yesterday. When I went in to dispute it and things didn't go my way, I thought about throwing my documents in the lady's face for a second... just for a second. On the outside, I smiled and thanked her.
Do you get angry? Do you punch walls? Do you lose your temper? Do you yell at people? I'm not the only one right?
Occasionally, we lose it big time and the consequences become absolutely brutal. I've said things from a short temper that have caused month long family feuds. I know men who have raised a hand to their wife during a heated argument. Imagine if we acted on even half of the angry impulses we get. Imagine how bad things could end up if I really had slammed on my brakes just to show that tailgater. What trouble have you caused out of anger? Imagine how much more there would be if you acted on all of your angry desires.
Can you imagine if God was like us? Think of the damage we do when we fly off the handle. Now imagine what this world would look like if you or I had infinite power. Lose your temper with a stranger in line? Poof! Disintegrate them. In an argument with a relative? Bam! Pillar of salt. It sounds a little funny, but seriously think about it. What if God got angry and lost it over the petty things that you and I flip out over? Think of all of the times you've used His name in vain. What if He had enough? Or what about any of the other sins we commit against Him all the time? Praise God that He is not like us!
The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. - Psalm 145:8
I love Psalm 145. I may write more on it in the future, but for now, this is one of the reasons why. God is slow to anger. We are talking SLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOWW. And that is something we need to praise Him for. He doesn't smack us when we screw up in the little things. He is quick to forgive and give us a second, third, fourth, fifth..., trillionth chance! Its wonderful that we don't need to cower in fear when we sin. We don't have to dodge lightning bolts every time we mess up. Instead, we have a God who is rich in love that is eager to be gracious, compassionate, and forgiving. He is slow to anger.
If you are like me, sometimes this is an amazing truth! There have been times that I've sinned and I know that I should pray, read my Bible, go to small group, or spend time with God but I feel so guilty about the sin that I can't bring myself to do those things. I end up convincing myself that somehow God won't want to spend time with me, not after I FILL IN THE BLANK . I get that image in my head of a disappointed father with his arms crossed while shaking his head at me. But that's not the case. God is eager to forgive and be gracious. He is more like a loving Father stooping down with His arms wide open, ready to scoop up His child in a big hug.
Take a look at the amazing truths about God in Psalm 145. Rejoice in the amazing God we have who is eager to forgive and extend grace to us through Christ. Don't believe the lies of guilt that keep you from running into the arms of your Father when you mess up. Turn to Him with confidence that He will be gracious towards you as Hebrews 4:16 says. Turn quickly to God for forgiveness. And may the quickness with which He has forgiven you and I remind us to be slow to anger with one another as well.
As a disclaimer, I have to warn you that God's anger will one day come. While God is very, very slow to anger, the Bible is clear that there is a day of wrath coming. On that day, God will judge us for our deeds as a perfect Judge. On that day, there will be two categories of people. There will be people who are sentenced by the Judge to pay the penalty of their sins and there will be people who have already had the penalty of their sins paid for by Jesus' death on the cross. If you want to escape the future wrath of God, put your faith in Jesus' death as payment for your sins and His resurrection as a promise of eternal life to come.
- Who have you lost your temper with recently?
- What can you do to apologize and fix what you have broken (whether its a physical wall or the less tangible relationship and trust)
- Think of the ways that you sin against God. If you were in God's shoes, how would you honestly respond to yourself? What would it look like if God had your temper?
- Do you ever feel like God is angry with you? How can you remind yourself of the truth of Psalm 145:8?
- Have you trusted Jesus as your Savior for the coming day of God's wrath? If not, why not now? Let me or a pastor know if you have accepted Christ recently. We'd love to help you start your new faith!