Slow to Anger

by Scarlett Stough

Jesus became angry, but his anger was directed at those whose attitudes were incensed at his restoration of a man's hand (Mark 3:1-6). Because they valued their human rules above mercy, they began to plot his death. Their anger motivated them to murder. His anger motivated him to heal. We can be angry without doing harm to others (Ephesians 4:26-31).

Because Christ is our life, now and beyond the resurrection, we are to react with compassion and forgiveness:

But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander*, and filthy language from your lips.
Colossians 3:8

God calls on his children:

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Joel 2:12-13

Not only did Jesus teach that a person who is “angry with his brother will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:22), he also admonished us all to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45a).

Paul taught us that as God's chosen people that we are to be clothed “with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:12-15).

We as followers of Christ are given the responsibility to “…overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21b.)” Let us be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9.)

*Strong's number 988 translated as “blasphemy” in the KJV: blasphemia is “practically confined to speech defamatory of the Divine Majesty.”