This morning, I received the following brief meditation on 1 Cor. 13:5 from a good friend, Scotty Smith, Pastor for Preaching, Teaching and Worship at Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN. I found it very helpful. I think you will as well.
Love is not easily angered…(1 Cor. 13:5)
As we continue pondering Paul’s unique description of gospel-love (agape) in 1st Corinthians 13, we come to a phrase that both convicts the dickens-out-of-me, and also deserves much deeper reflection. Simply based on the Greek of this phrase, Paul is saying that the love of Jesus radically changes my exasperation factor. Gospel-love is not easily exasperated unto eruption. Among other things, this means (doggone it) that as the gospel goes deeper into our hearts we will be less irritable, less aggravate-able, more likely to respond than react, more poised to listen than to launch; we’ll have a longer fuse and a shorter recovery time, we’ll have thicker skin and a bigger heart… do you get the picture?
On the other hand, Paul is not saying gospel-love doesn’t ever get angry, rather it’s not easily angered—that is, it is appropriately and proportionately angered. It took me a long time to get comfortable with the emotion of anger. I’m rarely a loud-n-large spewer-n-thrower. My anti-gospel anger is more like a toxic waste heap leaking poison quietly but lethally—commonly called passive aggressive anger.
In the gospel we learn to get angry at the right time and in the right way. In fact, the gospel enables us to be good stewards of all the emotions God has given us. The love of Jesus enables us to be more angry about injustice and work more passionately for justice. The love of Jesus frees us to be more angry about false gospels and be more humbled by the true gospel. Indeed, gospel-love enables us to love as Jesus loves… with redemptive grit and with great grace. What might this look like for you today?