“The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.”
The six powerful words in the verse above are, “The LORD is slow to anger…” This verse does not say that God doesn’t get angry, but that He is slow to anger. If anyone has a reason to be angry, God has a reason to be angry at mankind. Yet, when God deals with man, He chooses to be slow to anger.
The fact that God is slow is anger only reveals His desire to help mankind to conform into His image. If every person, and especially leaders, could emulate this characteristic of God, fewer people would be treated wrongly, and relationships would more easily find harmony. One of the greatest reasons relationships are destroyed is because of quick anger. If God is slow to anger, that means that every believer should also be slow to anger. What does it mean to be slow to anger?
First, being slow to anger means you are in control of your spirit. Proverbs 16:32 says, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” If you quickly respond in anger to everything you hear, you will quickly destroy relationships you once cherished. The greatest power one can exercise is the power to control their spirit when they are tempted to quickly respond in anger.
Second, being slow to anger means you are gracious to those who have angered you. Psalm 103:8 says, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger…” You may be righteously angry at a situation, but you must be gracious to those who have done wrong. Don’t let a situation cause you to retaliate toward the individual. Correct the situation, but be gracious in your dealing with the individual.
Third, being slow to anger means you don’t immediately exercise the power you could use. The verse above says that the LORD is “great in power,” but though He is great in power, He doesn’t use His power immediately. You may have the power to wield because of your position, but being slow to anger means you are very careful with what power you use so that you don’t hurt people in the wielding of that power.
Fourth, being slow to anger means you are more ready to pardon than condemn. Nehemiah 9:17 says that God is “ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger…” God would rather see that you are not guilty than to assume your guilt. Every person must be careful that they don’t assume guilt without hearing the other side. The person who judges without giving the accused a chance to explain is not practicing the quality of being slow to anger. Being slow to anger means you will take the time to hear the whole story before you respond. It means you would rather prove that there is a misunderstanding more than you would assume someone’s guilt.
Fifth, being slow to anger means you don’t respond in wrath. Proverbs 15:18 shows that being slow to anger doesn’t cause strife, but it appeases strife. My friend, being slow to anger will keep you from leaving behind spiritual corpses that are destroyed in anger. Get control of yourself and never let quick anger be a part of your character. You will build more lives by being slow to anger than you will by being quickly angered.