“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15)
These are thoughts often repeated in the Psalms. They delineate the things we praise God for and at the same time they offer a list of things we should strive for. What a difference it would make in the world if we truly modeled ourselves on these attributes of God.
To be merciful means to broaden the sense of justice. To be merciful means to allow a wider scope of forgiveness to others. To be merciful is to take our own selfishness out of the picture; it is to give up “my” rights. Mercy allows reconciliation, reduces retribution, and promotes a second chance.
To be gracious is to extend mercy. Being gracious is to bestow a gift without thought of receiving something in return. When we are gracious, we give beyond what is expected or normal. To be gracious is to extend unmerited favor and unlimited forgiveness.
To be slow to anger is to learn self-controlled. It is also to curb our own feelings of self-righteousness; the feeling that we have been hurt beyond repair. The more we practice the art of slow to anger the easier it becomes. When Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them,” He was showing that He had mastered the feeling that it was about Him. The last person to show anger should be the child of God.
To abound in steadfast love is the goal of every Christian or should be. Not just love, notice but steadfast love. Love that that goes on and on and is always there. Love that is full of mercy and grace. Love that puts others first, always. Think about abounding. Full love, complete love, overwhelming love is what God has for us. It is what we should have for each other.
To abound in faithfulness is to be the person that always exemplifying these attributes. This is not a person who is up and down, jumping from one mood to another; this is a person who can be counted on to reflect the goodness of their savior every day and in every circumstance.
Task for Today: Set a goal today to improve in the areas mention in this verse. Find a reason to be merciful today. Whatever happens today, you be gracious. Practice counting to ten and beyond and do it again and again. Let the day be ruled by a love that supersedes self. By all means, find a way to demonstrate you are who you say you are.