1 Corinthians 13:5b RSV
[Love] is not irritable or resentful.
- Love is not irritable.
- Love is not resentful.
We live in an angry society. Just last week there were two or three school shootings. That doesn’t count the hundreds of murders across the country, the thousands of crimes. And those are the angry acts that are illegal. Think about how many people were enraged by late restaurant orders, rude drivers, absent employees, unthoughtful family members.
We live in a time of rage and depression. It seems to be getting worse and worse each year. Are we on a downward spiral toward social implosion? I think perhaps we are.
All because we allow ourselves to be irritable. All because we allow ourselves to become angry.
I have a dear aunt, now in heaven, who had a friend. She told me one day that she admired this man so much because he never, ever got angry. Not at anything. Not about anything. She asked him one day what his secret was. He told her, “I simply don’t allow anyone or anything to make me angry. I refuse to get mad.”
A simple choice. Well, perhaps not simple, but nevertheless, a choice.
Paul tells us that love isn’t irritable.
Irritable: easily annoyed, easily roused to impatience
It seems that there may be a pattern here. Impatience leads to irritability which leads to anger. Love simply doesn’t go down that path. Rather, love easily forgives, easily overlooks, easily applies the best motive rather than assuming the worst.
And those are choices. No one “makes” us angry. We “choose” to be angry. We set ourselves up by our expectations when, not met, lead us to irritability, to anger. We can also choose other expectations, other paths, other options.
We can choose not to be irritable, but rather to be hopeful, gentle, forgiving.
Which am I?
The KJV actually translates this “thinks no evil.” Is your glass half empty or half full? We are people of the Hope. Peter tells us: “By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 3b-4 RSV). We are born anew to a living hope! Why then would we be people of glasses that are half empty? How could we only look at what we don’t have . . . when we have everything?
Think of all the ways we think, talk (and walk) in ways that are evil: negativity, anger, jealously, resentment, control, unforgiveness. The list could go on. And yet, we need to leave all of that behind! We are people of the living Hope! There isn’t a reason for us to think evil of anything or anyone. Father God has already promised that in everything He works for our good.
How then are we resentful? Why then do we think evil? Love isn’t resentful, but rather hopeful; isn’t angry, but rather forgiving.
The world will know that we are Christians by the love that we have.