Make peace, not wasteful lives
I am part of a writers and bloggers group Five-Minute Fridays where we spend five minutes composing our thoughts based on a single word. The word for this week is SLOW.
My immediate thought is God's characteristic of being slow to anger. Searching this word on Blue Letter Bible, I discovered seventeen verses with this word. It must be an important message from God. Here are a few of these verses:
"The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion" Numbers 14:18 NIV.
"But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love" Nehemiah 9:17 NIV.
"But you, Lord, are compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness" Psalms 86:15 NIV.
"The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love" Psalms 145:8 NIV.
Do you notice how the words gracious, compassionate, forgiving, and love contrast anger? These Bible verses confirm that our Lord is gentle, kind, and faithful. He wants us to come to him with our worries; He wants us to trust him. He wants us to be our best, just as any loving parent would want for their children.
Knowing God's character, we as Christians are tasked with mirroring His qualities since we are made in His image. "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry" James 1:19. We must take on this task and provide the same love and grace to others. It is a challenging prospect, but it is one that helps us lean into God's guidance and direction.
The consequence of a quick temper can be a wasted opportunity to show God's love, a hasty departure instead of steady support. We can miss opportunities to witness Jesus to people who are hurting. The tongue is a mighty instrument for good or evil: "With the tongue, we praise our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness" James 3:9 NIV. Words really matter and they are long remembered. Yet, we know the truth and confess it when we realize the authority of God's word: "and every tongue acknowledges that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" Philippians 2:11 NIV.
What can we do when we are in the throes of those angry moments. Pause. Breathe. Listen. Look. Ask ourselves, "What does God want from me at this moment?" Can we look at the person in front of us and see God's image? Can we hear God's calling to show Jesus's love? Can we extend grace and compassion to the other? Can we slow down the train wreck in our minds to reach the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7) to guards our hearts and the hearts of others? When we slow down our minds as we slow down our breath, we can clearly see God offering us the chance to have peace--with Him, with others, with ourselves.
Take time to be still. Take time to listen. Take time to slow down and be with God.
Peace and joy to you.