Updated: Jul 7
Unlimited Patience. Ed Welch gets to the heart quickly today. He states, "If you want to know what you really think about the Lord, watch how you live."
If your anger persists unchecked, you hold the Lord in contempt.
If your anger is fueled by fear or shame, you don't believe that He could love you and you have to fend for yourself.
If your anger veers off into hopelessness, you believe that His standards are impossibly high and you will never please Him.
The apostle Paul addresses this with his own testimony in 1 Timothy 1:15-16. He says, "If God has unlimited patience with me - the worst of sinners - then He will definitely be patient with you."
One of the root causes of anger is a judgmental spirit towards others. As angry people, by default, we will see others as worse than us, but this prideful and elevated view of self cuts us off from Gods grace. Because we are not experiencing God's grace (because of our own pride), we do not desire to and are unable to give grace to those around us.
Paul is teaching us that when we see ourselves as the worst of the worst, we place ourselves in a position to receive God's grace. Grace is understood and experienced only from a place of complete humility and desperate need. Any perception of "goodness" within develops a view of self that says "we are not as bad as we thought or as bad as others." This perspective immediately eliminates our understood need of God's grace. We do this to ourselves because God's grace can only be received from a place of needing grace or seeing ourselves as being really messed up.
As recipients of God's grace, we become channels of grace to those around us. We know there is nothing good in us. We are fully dependent upon His grace and vividly see our need. The joy we experience in the grip of His grace naturally leads us to want others to experience this same grace in their life and we want to be first in line to pass His grace on to them. Interestingly enough, when we show grace to others, it is not our grace that is being shown (I do not have the resource of grace within myself), but it is God's grace that is being shown through me (this is grace itself and humbling).
The reason we experience this grace is because of Jesus. We cannot meet God's standard. We cannot satisfy ANY part of His requirement. We stand condemned and hopeless. It is only God's grace as demonstrated in giving His Son that gives us hope. Jesus fully satisfies the demands of God and His righteous life becomes our righteous life by God's grace.
So, if God does not require us to meet His standard of righteousness because it has been met in Jesus, then we are free to give grace to others and stop holding them to an impossible standard. We can view them in Jesus, just as God views us in Jesus. We are free to respond with grace rather than with anger.