Building Up Love – (Not) Angry
Anger: a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire
…[love] is not easily angered,… (1Corinthians 13:5c, NIV)
Think of a recent time when you were angry. What made you angry? How did you react to your anger? Was there a better way for you to react?
Love and anger are often considered to be opposites of each other, with many interpreting this passage to mean if you love someone, you don’t get angry with them. But is that true? Does loving someone mean you never get angry with them?
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” (John 2:13-16, NIV)
Who did Jesus love? Jesus loved everyone! Jesus would not have come to earth if He did not have the deepest love for everyone. Yet in the above passage, Jesus was angry, and He acted on that anger, showing that love and anger are not mutually exclusive. Consider why Jesus was angry.
Jesus was angry because the temple, a holy place of worship, was being used as a market to buy and sell. The market prevented people from worshipping the Lord in peace. Those who came to the temple were harmed, due to the outrageous prices of the birds, sheep, cattle, and other animals sold as sacrifices for sin. All people also had to exchange the Roman coin of the day for temple coin, in order to pay the temple tax, but the exchange rate was also appalling.
Jesus was angry at the desecration of His Father’s house, but He did not act rashly in His anger. What did He do? He stopped, taking the time to make “a whip out of cords.” How long did it take to make the whip? Anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. When you are angry, are you willing to wait a few minutes before acting? A few hours? This passage shows us that anger, and acting upon that anger is not always wrong, but before acting, we need to stop and think!
The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! (2 Samuel 12:1-7a, NIV)
David burned with anger… King David was righteously angry over a man who committed a grave injustice against another man. He was ready to act and pronounce judgement on that man, without any hesitation. But then it is revealed that King David was the man who had committed the injustice! Would King David still react the same way? Would you?
When it was revealed that King David was the man who committed the injustice, King David was forced to stop and consider his anger and his reaction. His anger was righteous, but was his reaction? Just because your anger is righteous, does not mean your reaction is as well.
Love is not easily angered is an extremely important part of understanding love, and an extremely difficult concept to fully grasp. We all experience anger. Jesus experienced anger! Our reaction to that anger is what sets apart those who seek to show love through their actions, those seeking to Build Up Love within themselves. Feeling anger is a part of life. How we react to that anger is up to us. Our reaction is what we control, and our reaction to anger should not be impulsive.
Think of a recent time when you were angry. What made you angry? Why? How did you react to your anger? Reflect upon this message. The rest is up to you!
Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily anger…
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