Honestly, I did not feel like I should be the one to write a blog about how God is love and is not easily angered or how we should be slow to anger. These past couple of weeks have been rough. I have chosen sin over God over and over again. I have let my busyness push God to the bottom of the list. I have pretty much failed in every single area of my life. I haven’t spent time with God in days. I haven’t been the employee that I should be. I haven’t treated my family with love and compassion. Yep, these last two weeks could be summed up by one word: failure.
I kept pushing back writing this blog post because I didn’t feel one bit qualified to write it. How was I supposed to even begin writing on how God is not easily angered when He was obviously irritated with my behavior? I knew without a doubt that God was beyond frustrated and irritated with me. I doubted that He could even still love me. I just couldn’t do anything right. He had to be so angry with me for continually falling back into sin and then staying there because I was just too tired to fight and get back up.
Oh but Jesus is so good to us. He quickly reminded me that He is faithful when I am not. He is loving when I am not. He is good when I am not. He is steadfast when I am not. He is compassionate when I am not. He is gracious when I am not. The Lord began speaking truth over and over again to my guiitstricken heart.
“They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt’, or when they committed awful blasphemies. Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take.” Nehemiah 9:17-19
Even in my failures, Jesus loves me. I rebelled, but He forgave. I ran back to slavery, yet He was gracious. I chose other gods before Him, still He loved me. He didn’t leave me in the valley. Our God is slow to anger. He is long-suffering with us. He is not irritable.
I still can not fathom how he forgives over and over. It does not make any sense. How could He continually remain slow to anger when I fail Him daily? This is how good our God is, y’all. He loves wicked, rebellious, and sinful people. He pursues us when we run from Him. He stays with us when we spit in His face. He is not irritable. No, He is faithfully slow to anger, abounding in perfect love.
“The Lord, The Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished.” Exodus 34:6-7
I love that the Lord lists His attributes. He is the rock that won’t move. He is a sure foundation that we can stand on and trust (Psalm 18:2). No matter how many times we run, He will still chase us. He will still love us. While He is not easily angered, He still punishes us when we sin, but He does so in complete love for us.
It is obvious that God is not irritable with us, but how on earth are we supposed to do the same? God makes it clear in James that we are called to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19). I’m sitting here wondering how God could possibly expect this out of me. I’m the one who gets irritated if you take some of my Scooby Snacks. C’mon God. Really? You want me to be slow to anger? “Yes, follow me, chase me, and I will teach you,” He says.
It says over and over in the Bible that God is slow to anger, abounding in love. Maybe the answer is not don’t be irritable, but rather love. God doesn’t just put up with us; He loves us. As we chase Him and love Him; He teaches us how to love others, and then becoming angry gets a little harder when you are loving people. Just typing that seems so easy. Just love people. Be kind. Don’t get angry. Simple. Yeah, no. It is the hardest thing ever. But, I love that we can hold onto the truth that He will love humanity through our fragile bodies as we trust Him and run to Him.
I have learned over the years that loving God is actually really hard. Well, for me it is. I start trying to just love Him and adore Him but then I look at myself. I see my sin and failures and I begin to question His love for me. So my nugget of advice for you is this; Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. The moment you start looking to yourself, you will see a hot mess. I’ve been there and every time I run as fast and as far away from Jesus because of the shame I feel. Don’t stop running to Jesus for even one second, because we get distracted so easily and this world looks so good from the outside.
Trying to love like Christ is exhausting because we fail every time, but just loving Christ takes some of the pressure off and allows us to experience the goodness of God. As we love Him, He will help us love others. Sit before Him this week. Let Him speak truth to your heart. Let Him heal you from the hurt. Let Him strip the anger from your life, then love Him. He will help you be slow to anger. He will help you not become irritable. He will help you love.
It’s a beautiful thing to watch God take our broken pieces and use them to change the world. You are not too far. He will use anyone. I promise. I mean, c’mon, He was gracious enough to let me sit here and write this blog post with tears and shaking hands. God is in the business of using our failures to glorify Him. Let’s love Jesus well, keep our eyes on Him and watch Him move mountains that were buried deep in our hearts.