The Imitation of Mercy
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Anger is a basic human emotion. It’s commonality to human emotions is often used as an excuse. Do these words sound familiar? “After all, I’m only human”. However, when we excuse our anger as a merely a human reaction, we miss an opportunity to imitate Christ. The few times we have recorded of Jesus angry, we can see that His anger was righteous; it was directed at the sinful actions of those who knew better.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t say that all my times of anger are righteous. I wish I could. As followers of Jesus we are called to imitate Him. He gives us mercy by not holding our sins against us, and He gives us grace by not reacting to us with the angry responses we so often deserve. We must do the same. We must learn to offer mercy not anger, grace not punishment.
Anger is always destructive. Granted, there are a times when the destruction that flows from righteous anger is necessary, but most of the time what we really need is to learn to not react in angry ways, to learn to be “slow to anger”. Because the LORD is merciful, gracious, and slow to anger, His waves of mercy flow out to us in steadfast love. God’s mercy doesn’t ebb and flow like the tide. His mercy is like a tidal wave that sweeps down from Heaven to fill our lives with love and forgiveness.
The next time you begin to feel anger welling up inside you, sense the flow around you, get lost in the waves of His mercy. The more you do it, the more it becomes your nature, and that is the essence of imitating Christ.
Grace and Peace,
Lord of all mercy, you know my angry ways, you know the pain I carry that I let consume me until I am angry. Teach me to receive your waves of mercy, filling me with love and forgiveness that I may become more like you. Amen.