by Susan Sampson
Lord, I confess I am angry. Please forgive me. Please have mercy on me. Thank you for this lesson. It was painful to work through, but I thank you for giving me eyes to see my sinful anger. Please give me grace to repent and to put on love and a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in your sight!
The most beautiful picture stood out in my mind as I listened to the recent lecture. Laurie rightly reminded us that it is all because of Jesus that we have been spared from the wrath of God. She instructed us that the first and foremost thing to have on our minds at all times is the love of Christ who “stood in front of us!” I could so clearly see my Lord standing in front of me with His arms spread out wide, protecting me and bearing the wrath of God in my place. There is no greater love!
Think about this! Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And verse 10 says, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son…” We were Christ’s enemies when He loved us by dying for us. This is why He can and does command us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. This is what Jesus did on the cross when He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” He had every right to be angry and yet He had mercy.
These past few weeks the Lord has been showing me more and more of the depths and pervasiveness of my sinful anger. I want to hurt those who hurt me. I want paybacks. I want revenge. I don’t want to love my enemies. I want them to pay. In those moments I am living in unbelief, forgetting completely the mercy and grace I have been given. Not truly believing that I was an enemy of Christ, fully deserving the punishment of death. He had mercy on me so that I would have mercy on others. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7).
So what do we do? We go immediately to the Lord. We confess our anger and cry out to Him to give us grace to put our sinful anger to death. And then we follow in the footsteps of our beloved Savior and pray for the person we are angry with. This is such godly counsel. This is the way of Christ. This is the way the Lord will soften our hearts! This is the way the Lord will grow love in our hearts. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
Lord, “keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me!” (Psa. 19:13). Lord, you do not retain your anger forever, because you delight in mercy (Mic. 7:18). Lord, enable us by your grace to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to become angry (Jam. 1:19). We need your Holy Spirit to enable us to choose to serve you in that moment of decision, to enable us to be a fragrant aroma! Thank you Lord, that with you all things are possible! Thank you for your mercy. Thank you for not treating us as our sins deserve. In Jesus’ name, Amen.