Slow to Anger, Quick to Forgive

“The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion.” Numbers 14:18

God is slow to anger and can forgive any sin.  That comment in itself is miraculous, actually.  God is perfectly holy and so cannot be in the presence of any sin.  He despises everything to do with it.  Why God is not continually angry is beyond my comprehension.  How can a holy, perfect God completely forgive every kind of sin?  That’s a huge question and the answer is a role model for us…. love and forgiveness.

  • “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake.” 1 John 2:12
  • “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9

  • “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.””  Acts 10:43 

For us, forgiveness can be extremely difficult, especially when intense pain has been caused by the transgression.  It is so hard for us to forgive and forget.  Even though we may try on our own to forgive, those hurtful thoughts keep creeping up in our minds, reliving the pain of the transgression.  Our minds ask many questions, “How can I forgive them?  How can I forget this?  How can I treat them the same now?  Will they do it again?  How can I trust them now? How can I love someone when they’ve hurt me?”

  • “And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’forgive him.”  Luke 17:4

When we read this verse, we cringe.  How can we forgive someone for the same offense, even if the same offense is done seven times a day?  It seems impossible an unreasonable to think we could do such a thing.  But, we need to understand something…. We are all in the same boat.

Part of our issue is our ignorance, our ignorance at what sin is and what its consequences are… For both, the answer is the same, “pain.”   We have been blinded by the deception of it.  We all cause pain.  Jesus understood this and asked for our forgiveness in spite of our ignorance.  Hurting people, hurt people.

  • “But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”…”  Luke 23:34

Once we learn the forgiveness that is offered to us through the Son, Jesus Christ, God asks us to extend that same forgiveness to others, remembering our previous ignorance.

  • “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”  Colossians 3:12:14
  • “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”  Ephesians 4:32

Forgiving is a serious, intentional action to God.  He wants us to realize the importance of what He has done for us, and so He ups the ante and not only asks us to forgive, but He tells us that if we do not forgive, as He has, that He will then not forgive us..

  • “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”  Matthew 11:24-26
  • “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”  Matthew 4:14-15
  • “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’  In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 

    “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”  Matthew 18:32-35 [Parable of the wicked servant who did not forgive]

Take forgiveness serious.  It is not something you can do fully on your own, but by bringing the transgressions of others, and of yourself, to the thrown of Jesus Christ in prayer, all good things will be granted to us.  God will help you to forgive others and forgive yourself, so that you can be released from the ignorance and pain of sin.

God made each and every one of us in His image. So, these are qualities that we should strive for in ourselves.

Who do you need to forgive this week?  If you are harboring unforgiveness and anger, you are giving the devil some control of your life.

  • ““In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”  Ephesians 4:26-27

A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”  Proverbs 19:11