Anger is a tricky emotion. It can come out as a loud, violent and destructive explosion. But it can also simmer underneath the surface, quietly, almost unnoticeably.
When that happens, it’s not unusual for the anger to simmer for a long time. Bitterness kicks in. A deep-seated grudge develops. Like soup left to simmer for way too long, the relationship that is impacted by the grudge slowly but surely begins to dry up and evaporate, leaving behind only a hardened crust of the former relationship.
With both Israel and Judah doing the kinds of things that make God angry, it wouldn’t have been surprising had God decided to forsake them forever. It wouldn’t have been a shock if the LORD had decided to hold a grudge against them.
But it’s not in God’s character to nurse a grudge. And that makes him like no other. Because by his very nature, he is forgiving. He does not stay angry. His specialty is mercy and pardon. The thing that absolutely switches God on, that energizes him, is taking our sins and crushing them into dust and then throwing that dust into the deepest part of the ocean.
Our God — because of his grace — is incomparable.
Do you want to stand out in a crowd? You couldn’t pick a better way than to reflect the gracious character of God! And the way to do that is to pray and ask for God’s help and strength to make good choices about your anger.
With the Spirit’s help, choose not to nurse grudges any longer. Select forgiveness and mercy over wrath and justice. Let the thing that energizes you be the joy you get when you forgive someone who has hurt you — perhaps even hurt you deeply. Make showing compassion your daily pursuit.
And as you walk with Jesus Christ, realize that you need to wear steel-toed boots. Because part of the path involves treading sins underfoot and hurling iniquities into the depths of the sea.
“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:18-19, NIV).
Lord, you have been shockingly merciful and forgiving toward me. My sins have been tread underfoot by you. My iniquities have been hurled into the depths of the sea. Help me to forgive others as you have first forgiven me.
Our Bible reading for Tuesday, September 1, is Micah 5:1 – 7:20, 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 and Proverbs 21:17-26.
Header image based on "work boots" by Wayne Truong, CC By 2.0