Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Love is not Easily Angered

Sorry about the interruption.  It seems that I hit a roadblock to blogging right in the midst of reflecting on Paul's description of what love is in 1 Corinthians 13.  I realize that it is probably a bit presumptuous of me to think that there are people who come here each day looking for what I have written and notice a lapse in regular posts.  However, I notice and it is a good discipline for me and my relationship with God so the sorry is most likely to me and to God.

Paul writes," love is not easily angered."

My first thoughts on this description of love is what it is not saying.  It does not say that love never gets angry.  It says it does not anger easily.  It is patient with me and with you.  Love does not just jump instantly to anger.  It does not fly off the handle or give a knee jerk reaction.  Love is not easily angered.  But, love at times gets angry.

Jesus most famous incident of anger, which is always brought up when we talk about getting angry, was the turning of the money changers tables in the temple.  Jesus clearly is angry with the situation.  He is angry with the selling of things in the temple.  He is angry with shift from worship to capitalism.  He is angry with the idea personal gain off the worship of God.  He is angry at the perversion of worship.

I think he is angry because he loves the people in the temple and he  loves the Father.   He recognizes that this activity, which he can do something about, is keeping them from understanding and expressing their love for God.  In fact, it has replaced it.  “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’but you are making it ‘a den of robbers."

Because love is a deeply rooted emotion that is patient, kind, not rude, does not  boast, and is not self seeking it can and will become angry at injustice, abuse and oppression.  However, we should never anger easily and our anger is never toward people or for selfish reasons.

Often times when we get angry it is over things that we should not get angry about.  We are angry for selfish reasons or we are angry for no real reason at all.  Often times anger is just the emotion that we know so it is what we go with even though what are really feeling is sorrow, grief, or disappointment.  We need to be slow to anger so that we take the time to really look within ourselves and discover what it really is that we are feeling.  If I am slow to anger I may may see that I am really not angry at all.  I might discover that I am really just being selfish and that is why I am mad because I am not getting my way.  I am not thinking about God or about others-- just me.  If I am slow to anger I might discover that I am really hurt and I need God to comfort me.  I may also discover that there is something that I can do to change the situation and my anger is a catalyst for change in the world around me.  If I am slow to anger I can keep my anger from being directed towards the object of my love and direct it towards what is really the cause of my anger.  This is not easy but it is what love does.  Love never is angry at people.  Love is angry at injustice, abuse, oppression, perversion, distortion of the truth, and separation of God.  It separates people from behavior and my not love an behavior but always loves the person.

If love does not get angry there is no Christmas and there is no Easter.  God just doesn't care about his creation being separated from him for all eternity. However, I believe that God is angry with his creation being separated from him. He is angry at the situation because he loves us but he is not angry at his creation.  If he is angry at us he just punishes us. Strikes us down and it is over.  If he is selfish he just says "you don't obey me so you are doomed."

If  God's anger is directed at people and not the catalyst to change the situation-- Jesus never leaves the comfort of Heaven.   But, because God loves us and cares about our situation he does for us what we cannot do for our selves.  He is motivated because he does not like the situation to do something to change it.  He is not mad or angry with us, he loves us, so he enters into this God forsaken world, to change the situation and turn the tables.  Loves is slow to anger and when it's anger is expressed it is an ultimate expression of love for the other.  It is a catalyst for change.  It is used for good and to restore and rebuild not to tear down and destroy.

You see the opposite of love is not anger or hate it is indifference.  To not care at all.  Love cares and because it cares it will at times be angry with situations, circumstance, behaviors, and events but never people.  But, love is slow to become angry and it takes the time to evaluate motives and feelings and to consider action.

"Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not rude or self seeking, it is not easily angered."


In Christ's love and mine,

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