That the God of the Bible is patient, long-suffering, slow to anger and ready to forgive is a truth lost on many who wear spiritual “rose-colored glasses” when reflecting on their own spirit and attitude. We are by nature sinners deserving of God’s wrath (Romans 6:23a), but in Christ the benefactors of God’s grace and mercy (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). It is the long-suffering of God and His readiness to forgive (2 Peter 3:9) that is the motivation for us to be “slow to wrath” and ready to extend grace and forgiveness to others.
Solomon taught his son this principle of longsuffering and forgiveness when he wrote:
Proverbs 14:29 – “He that is slow [patient; longsuffering] to wrath [anger; flaring of the nostrils] is of great [much] understanding [wisdom; discretion; reason; skill]: but he that is hasty [short or quick tempered] of spirit exalteth [offer; raise; display] folly [foolishness; silliness].”
Solomon’s proverb is convicting to many whose anger is provocative, self-serving and exposes them as the fools they are. It is the nature of godly men mastered by the wisdom of God to be men of understanding, insight, and discernment and not easily provoked to anger.
The apostle Peter asked the Lord, “how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” (Matthew 18:21). No doubt believing his suggestion of forgiving an offense seven times was magnanimous, Christ answered Peter, “seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22). The lesson for us all is–a Christian has no right to revenge because the grace of God’s forgiveness is limitless.
I close this lesson on patience with Paul’s exhortation to believers:
Ephesians 4:31-32 – “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith