Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Psalm 103:8-13

You are full of compassion and mercy,
     slow to anger and of great kindness.
You will not always accuse us,
     nor will you keep your anger for ever.
You have not dealt with us according to our sins,
     nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
     so far have you removed our sins from us.
As a parent cares for a child,
     so do you care for those who fear you.
                  --St. Helena Breviary

Being slow to anger and of great kindness are two things I strive for.  I don't like to be angry but I don't understand people who rarely are.  I am getting better, though, at not reacting out of anger quite so quickly.  The kindness part has slowed that down and often give me time to think of why I am angry and how it happened. 

But it is a great comfort to me to know that God is slow to anger and of great kindness.  That God does not count our sins and then decide how to care for us is astounding.  The call to hate the sin and love the sinner is one we don't manage very well and usually find not the least bit helpful.  But that seems to be one description of how God loves us.

I suspect every parent and an awful lot of children read that last verse with fear and trepidation.  Have we treated our children the way we want God to treat us?  When we are called to punish - and all parents are so called at times - do we take the other four verses into consideration?  By our actions, what are we teaching our children about God?  I know there are times I should have done better, should have been slow to anger, should have somehow managed to remember mercy and kindness.

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