Verse: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I’m pretty sure this part of the verse was put in there just for me. God knew that in 2000 years that were would be this guy named Christian who would need to read this. The key word for me in this part of the verse is EASILY. Love is not easily angered. Another word for it is “easily provoked.” I feel like a good way of understanding it is that love is not reactive, it’s responsive.

When we get our feelings hurt, or don’t get our way, or we disagree with someone, or someone says something negative about us—we have a moment of decision. We can react or respond. To react is impulsive. It’s saying whatever comes to our lips without much filter. It’s letting our emotions fly. To respond is to take time to really process before responding.

Anger isn’t wrong. There are times when God gets angry in the Bible, and there are times that we should be angry. This is talking about being easily angered – quick to fly off the handle – easily provoked into lashing out. And this is what is so hard.

When I get upset I want to say what I’m thinking right then! I want to fight back. I want to win the argument and destroy the other person’s ideas. I want to shout people down and shut people up. But that is not love.

Love is not easily provoked, it does not impulsively react in anger. Love responds. Love considers the thoughts and feelings of others. Love moves at a deliberate pace.

Can we learn to slow down our reaction time in emotionally charged situations? Can we learn to take a beat (or two!), take a breath, and dial down to hear God in the moment before we say and/or do things we know we’ll regret later?

God help me to learn the way of love in my life. Help me to learn the slow, responsive, careful way of love.

Author: Christian Dunn