[This is a post I wrote for RevGalBlogPals. It appears in this week’s edition of the e-Reader.]
Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. (Joel 2:13)
Slow to anger… gracious and merciful… abounding in steadfast love… This scripture verse is sung, in the churches where I have worshipped, every Sunday in the season of Lent. The haunting melody has been playing in my mind recently.
Slow to anger… gracious and merciful… apparently God doesn’t read the comments on social media posts! I have been noticing lately how easy it is to slip into anger and judgment. I certainly see it happening in others when I read the comment thread following a social media post. If it’s anything more controversial than a picture of a kitten or a puppy, the anger and venom seem to start almost immediately. There is a whole buffet of name-calling, foul language, wishing ill upon others, and even threats to others.
I can’t simply shake my head at how awful other people are acting, though. As soon as I begin judging them for their hostility, I remember situations in which I am quick to flare up in anger and judgment. It may be a roll of the eyes at a comment someone makes. It may be a quick and snarky response in a social media thread. It may be frustration that’s way out of proportion to something that doesn’t work as I expected.
And yet, from the first stories of creation in the Bible, I am reminded that God created each of us in God’s image. I am created to be gracious and merciful, not judgmental and callous. I am created to be slow to anger, to overflow with love for all of God’s creatures. Even when I’m on social media.
Gracious and merciful God, remind me today that I am created in your image. Give me the words in the actions to display your steadfast love. Amen