From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Dr. Graham:

Why does the Bible say that God is slow to anger? I thought He was perfect. Isn’t anger a sin?

— G.A.

Dear G.A.: It takes a great deal to stir God’s anger — but when it happens, it is holy anger because God is pure and righteous. When the Bible tells us that God “is slow to anger” (Nahum 1:3), it simply means that He is patient beyond man’s capability. The prophet Nahum preached that God would take revenge on evil. “[He] will not at all acquit the wicked” (v. 3). History often reflects that the wicked stay wicked. Who are the wicked? Those who break the law of God, and we have all broken God’s law.

We must not think that we get away with anything. Sin will bring us to repentance or retribution. When His anger is stirred, He often uses the power of nature to demonstrate His pending doom. “The Lord has His way in the whirlwind and the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. ... The earth heaves at His presence” (Nahum 1:3-5).

So the storm clouds are swift, as holy feet stir up the dust of anger against man’s sin and disobedience, because God’s plan is to have fellowship with the human race, not conflict.

Man’s anger, however, is sinful. It leads us into bitterness and hurts everyone. Never underestimate man’s anger; it is a destructive power. Can we overcome our anger, instead of constantly being overcome by it? Yes! With God’s help. Peter’s anger was channeled into boldness for Christ. Paul’s anger against Christians was replaced with a burning passion to spread the Gospel.

Anger makes us lash out at others, destroying relationships and revealing our true nature. The history of the human race is largely the history of its anger. Anger flees when the Spirit of God fills our hearts.