The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Exodus 34:6
Was the driver late with your food? You can use your phone to give him a one-star rating. Did the shopkeeper treat you curtly? You can write her a critical review. While smartphones enable us to shop, keep up with friends, and more, they have also given us the power to publicly rate each other. And this can be a problem.
Rating each other this way is problematic because judgments can be made without context. The driver gets rated poorly for a late delivery due to circumstances out of his control. The shopkeeper gets a negative review when she’d been up all night with a sick child. How can we avoid rating others unfairly like this?
By imitating God’s character. In Exodus 34:6–7, God describes Himself as “compassionate and gracious”—meaning He wouldn’t judge our failures without context; “slow to anger”—meaning He wouldn’t post a negative review after one bad experience; “abounding in love”—meaning His correctives are for our good, not to get revenge; and “forgiving [of] sin”—meaning our lives don’t have to be defined by our one-star days. Since God’s character is to be the basis of ours (Matthew 6:33), we can avoid the harshness smartphones enable by using ours as He would.
In the online age, we can all rate others harshly. May the Holy Spirit empower us to bring a little compassion today.
How can you show more compassion to others? What characteristic of God do you most need to imitate when online?
Holy Spirit, please grow the fruit of godly character in me today, especially when I’m online.
God’s revelation of Himself to Moses in Exodus 34:6–7 takes place soon after the rebellion of His people through worshiping a golden calf, an act which so angered Moses that he broke the tablets containing God’s law (32:19). Chapters 33–34 describe a gradual process of restoring God’s rebellion-prone people. In chapter 33, after threatening not to accompany the people to the promised land (vv. 3–5), He promises once more to be faithful to them despite their sin (vv. 14, 17). Not only that, but He promises to reveal His character to Moses once more (v. 19) and to restore the tablets of the law that Moses broke (34:1). Despite their sin, God’s people would have a future because of who He is—“compassionate and gracious,” “slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (vv. 6–7).