LENTO: Slowly Please…

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Lento: a tempo that is slow.
Tempo, an Italian word, originates from the Latin word, tempus which means time. It was originally used to describe the timing of music, or the speed at which a piece of music is played.

Tempo is an important element that defines the mood of the music. Fast-paced songs can be happy or intense building up to a climax. Slow pieces can be sad, solemn or peaceful and calm. The world today calls for fast technology, fast food, instant gratification, quick fixes, express processing, express lane, and the list goes on. Implications: people are impatient, tempers are short. The movie series: The Fast and the Furious speak volume, doesn’t it? To be slow is to lose the competition. To tarry is to miss the opportunity.

In the entire NASB Bible, the word slow appears in only 19 verses, 13 of which are associated with the word anger: 9 verses describe God as slow to anger and abounding in love, 4 verses in Proverbs refer to the wise being slow to anger. James taught us to be ‘quick’ to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. Moses described himself as slow of speech and slow of tongue. (Exo 4:10)

What makes you angry? Your rights violated? Injustice? Envy or jealousy? Wounded pride? God, sovereign, just and powerful Creator of the universe withholds his anger because of his abundant loving kindness for His creatures. He has the right. He is righteously jealous of the unfaithful disobedience of his children. If God is slow to anger and mercifully patient to wait for people to turn to Him in repentance, if He is willing to withhold punishment and forgive, how much more should we extend mercy to our fellow beings?

How to be slow to anger? Love enables us to be slow in anger. God’s extended mercy is linked with His compassion and abounding love. (Exo 34:6, Num 14:18, Neh 9:17, Psa 86:15, 103:8, 145:8, Joel 2:13, Jon 4:2, Nah 1:3)

Slow to anger is not the absence of anger. God is just. He is not happy with sin. He will eventually execute judgment on the sinners. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us: The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

How does one get angry slowly? Be quick to listen. Do you listen when you are angry? Not easy, is it? Be slow to speak. Is it possible to listen and speak at the same time? Difficult, isn’t it? How often does anger drive us to speak rashly, to close our ears to hear and our mind to understand?

When Moses was being accused by his siblings, he was silent. (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth. Num 12:3) Ultimately, to be slow to speak is about humility. Moses did not speak to defend himself yet God defended him. How do you feel when you are wronged? Upset? Frustrated? Furious? It is so hard to bottle it up – it feels like bursting, right? God is slow to anger, full of love and compassion. How about avail of His unbounded loving-kindness showered so freely upon you? Why not try to be quick to listen, slow to speak and perhaps, anger will slowly evaporate.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for being patient with me. Teach me to be compassionate like you, slow to anger and abounding in love. Help me to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Take away my anger and give me a meek and humble heart like Jesus. Amen.

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