Inspirations, Psalm 103 Series

A Compassionate, Merciful, Slow to Anger, and Loving God

My friend told me that when she was growing up, she thought God was an angry judge just waiting for her to sin so He could punish her. Why did she have this impression of God? Unfortunately, that was the message she had received from the sermons she had heard in church and from church people. Rarely did she hear that God is love. Sadly, because of her environment, my friend grew up with the wrong impression of God. As a result, her relationship with God was based on fear and not genuine love.

Thankfully, my friend has since gained a greater understanding of God. Consequently, her impression of God has changed, for she now knows, “The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” (Psalm 103:8). This realization has made all the difference in my friend’s relationship with God. She is no longer afraid of God. She, however, fears Him, and to fear God means to reverence and honor Him. In other words, my friend is now in awe of God.

If you grew up in a similar environment as my friend, you probably have a wrong impression of God; therefore, you may have difficulty believing that God is “compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.”  Notwithstanding, what the Psalmist writes is true. This is actually what God is really like.

God is compassionate. This means God feels sympathy towards you, and He desires to help you, and it is one of the reasons why He came to earth in human form as Jesus. Hebrews 4:15 explains, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Because God was at one point human, he understands pain, suffering, disappointments, hurt, sickness, or any conditions that are common to humans.

God is merciful. This means God does not treat you the way you deserve to be treated. “He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve” (Psalm 103:10). The idea behind punishment in today’s society is the punishment must fit the crime; however, God does not subscribe to this school of thought. For we deserve harsh punishment because we have sinned. To be exact—we deserve to die, but because God “does not deal harshly with us as we deserve,” we have not died. Hence, we can repent and seek forgiveness for our sins.

God is slow to get angry. Some people’s anger barometer can go from zero to one hundred within seconds, but not God’s. He is patient and long-suffering towards you. If God was someone who got angry quickly, He would punish you the moment you sinned; however, as 2 Peter 3:9 explains, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God is slow to get angry because He is giving us time to repent and turn to Him.

God’s love is unfailing. This means that God’s love for you will never change or fail. You are probably familiar with couples ending their relationships because the love they once had for each other no longer exists. For these couples, the reason why their love no longer exists is probably due to faults they have found in each other—faults they no longer want to put up with. God, on the other hand, will never stop loving you even if He finds faults in you. Therefore, regardless of who you are and what you have done, God loves you nonetheless, and He will not end His relationship with you.

Now, who will you believe? People, who give you a false impression of God or the Psalmist who tells you what God is really like? I hope you will believe the Psalmist. I hope you will believe the word of God.