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Not Easily Angered & No Lists


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A young man walks with a baby stroller with a crying baby inside. The young man speaks quietly, “Calm down George, don’t scream, George, quiet, George!” An elderly woman passing by stops and tells him, “I see you are really patient with your son George”…The man answers, “I am George”.

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So who hear has an anger problem?  How many of you have the occasional outburst?  How many of you, if I asked you about a random person in your life, could name the last three things they did against you?  The section of this famous passage we’re focusing on today has to do with these two things.  Anger and keeping a list of things done against you.  These two things are discussed within the context of perfect love…the picture of Christ himself.

This verse specifically says that love isn’t “easily angered.”  Now, all through the Bible, anger is discussed.  David, in many of his Psalms, writes of God’s anger towards His enemies.  David also writes that God is slow to become angry but He is rich in love (Psalm 145:8).  In Psalm 103 David records that God’s anger is not harbored forever.  So we can see that God has an appropriate and righteous anger against things reflecting evil.  But His love overshadows that anger.  In James 1:19-20, James writes that we, as believers in Jesus, should be slow to anger because human anger does not produce things of God.  Human anger is selfish.  Human anger doesn’t fit well into the command ‘…love your neighbor as yourself.”  Can a person, a creation of God, feel righteous anger like God feels?  I believe we can, but David warns us about anger.  In Psalm 37 David writes that anger will only lead to evil.  Anger is obviously a very powerful emotion and feeling.  It seems to me, from what I read, that anger is something that God has the right to, but we as humans should stay away from.  Expressing anger may be the first step to our downfall…to the ruin of our reputation…to turning someone away from the Savior that we profess.  Anger is not pretty.  It usually leads to words and actions and regret.  Not only these things, but medical science has shown that our bodies don’t handle angry stress well either.  Blood pressure pills are downed by many an angry person each and every day.

People who are easily angered as well as quiet people who have a huge amount of patience are often plagued by the next “not” part of this verse.  Love does not keep an ongoing list of wrongs.  Let’s look at one event that I marvel at each time I read it.  In the book of Acts we have recorded for us the quick accusation, trial and murder of a follower of Jesus.  Stephen was a man picked by the disciples to become a ministry leader within the church.  Soon thereafter, Stephen was wrongly accused of breaking the law (Acts 6).  He stood before his accusers and told the story of how Jesus came to save the world from sin.  His accusers didn’t even let him finish when they quickly dragged him outside the city gates and stoned him to death.  As earthly life was leaving his body, he looked around and asked God to not hold this sin against those throwing the stones (Acts 7:60).  Jesus said the same on the cross as He looked across the band of people hurling insults at Him while waiting for Him to take His last breath.  This is the exact opposite of keeping a record of wrongs.  Forgiveness on the spot.

Jesus speaks to this when He talks to the disciples about prayer (Matthew 6:14).  Jesus forgives us.  Therefore, we should forgive others.  The Bible states that love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).  It doesn’t say, “I love you…and oh…remember all those things you did against me?!”  Jesus, while explaining the new covenant through the last supper, explained that the wine was a reminder to us of the blood that washes away our sin (Matthew 26:28).  If God kept a record of our wrongs there’d be no way of us getting into Heaven.  Jesus provided us a way to have those sins erased.  Christ compels us to have the same attitude towards others and Paul writes about it here in this passage.

Love without anger and without lists is what we’re called to.  It matches the love of Jesus.  We’re called to let His light shine through us.  If we allow our anger or our list-making to get in the way, then Jesus can’t truly shine.  People won’t see Him through our actions or words.  They’ll see us…and we can’t be their way to eternity with their Father.  Help people see Jesus because He’s the way to Heaven…the only way.  Think about it, everything Jesus did was within the objective of getting people to Heaven with Him.

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

ed

Proverbs 15:1 ~ A gentle answer turns anger away. But mean words stir up anger.

Questions for Growth – Ok…this list of questions will be tough for some of you.  If you are one who is easily angered, you’re probably slow to see your own anger.  It’s just what is.  Most people who easily blow a fuse don’t think they blow fuses.  So, what I ask is that you look in the mirror and see yourself not with any masks…but as Jesus sees you.  Maybe watch a movie or TV show and watch how angry people are received by others.  Watch how other people internalize anger that is directed at them.  This might give you a picture of what your anger does to those around you.

  • Do you have an anger issue?  Be honest?
  • Do you easily want to throw out words or phrases when someone creates a scenario that makes you angry?
  • What would 30 seconds of second-thinking on your part do for the person you’re about to blast?
  • How would some of your relationships change if you could get past what someone else has done to you…either intentionally or unintentionally?  What’s holding you back from forgiving them?  You might not be able to forget…but you can definitely stop from holding something against them.
  • If you are an easily angered person or one who keeps lists, can you imagine what life might be like for those around you if you were to walk with the love Paul writes about?  What would change……?
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