'The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
' Psalm 103:8
I don’t think
I’ve got anger issues...
...but recently I’ve started to wonder whether the news ought to come with a warning: ‘May trigger irate reactions.’
It’s a bit of a cliche, but the news seems particularly grim right now. Leaders who are liars. Despots whose unnecessary wars are causing fuel poverty here and starvation in Africa. Campaigners who think the solution to school shootings is more guns.
Together, it makes me so angry. The selfishness, the pointlessness, the stupidity!
This isn’t a new thing, I confess. If you’d looked at my teenage CD collection, you would find Christian music staples of the 2000s like Delirious?, Third Day and DC Talk
. But you’d also find several albums by a band called Rage Against The Machine
. (For those of you not familiar with their oeuvre, yes, their music is just as angry as their name suggests.)
We are right to reflect a lot on God’s love, like in Psalm 103:8
. But DA Carson reminds
us that the Bible is also clear that God gets angry.
I find that deeply reassuring. Our God is not a god who’s OK with war, starvation, hypocrisy or deceit. The wicked might die rich, but God’s going to bring justice in the end.
I need to take care. Tolstoy paraphrased Jesus when he wrote that “everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
It’s easy for me to point to the misdeeds of others. Yet relative to the goodness of God, I’m closer to those I judge than I am to Him. Without salvation through Christ's death and resurrection, judgment awaits us all.
So as I find my knuckles going white as I listen to the news in the car, I give thanks for Psalm 103:8’s reminder. God is slow
to anger, and also abounding in love, gracious and compassionate.
Praise the Lord, oh my soul!