Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
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.
— Nahum 1:3
The city of Nineveh, sinful to the extreme, was given a reprieve after Jonah's visit.1 The repentance and change of heart did not last too long though, and within the century the citizens of Nineveh had again resumed their old ways. It was of course unsustainable, as is all poor behaviour, and as always it takes a prophet to see the inevitable outcome and predict the end. But first, Nahum wants it to be clear that this was no easy decision for God, The Lord is slow to anger. It takes a great deal for God to punish any nation, and it is never without regret.
The comparison here is undoubtably between God and His creation, the human—who is quick to anger, slow to forgive and very small in power. That's us. Today, our quickness to anger is exacerbated by social media, especially during this period of unrest and division.2 Small provocations give rise to instant, angry responses. Many are on a short fuse, some even looking for news or commentary to be angry at. It is a kind of fuel that drives us forward, but like the fossil fuels we use to drive our cars and warm our homes, this fuel takes a great toll on our natural beauty, and our sustainability. Angry people get ill more often. Angry people die younger.3
My prayer for today—a difficult day where injustice is palpable—is this: Let me be slow to anger, to look first at all the possibilities, and nurture the seed of compassion sown in my heart.
If we are indeed made in God's image, let us be more like God in our behaviour. And let us love others in as great a way as God loves us.
1 Othering, Jonah 3:10-4:1
2 This reflection was written during the enforced lockdowns of 2020-21 due to the spread of the COVID19 coronavirus
3 What causes anger and how to deal with it, Human Givens Institute