The Circumcised Heart of Love
May 21, 2010
My friend, Bob Henley, has written a book on Love recently, devoting a chapter to each of the characteristics of Love found in 1 Corinthians 13. Here is a quotation from chapter 8, Love is not easily provoked. It is exceptionally good.
Love is not easily provoked to anger. Anger is a sensitive topic when discussing Love. Many of us have been led to believe that if you love someone, it is wrong to get angry, but yet Our Heavenly Father was angered many times in Scripture. Anger precedes a righteous response of remedy, otherwise you will sin. When confronted with sin, Our Heavenly Father's wrath or anger was a response of righteous judgment against the sins of the people.
Are you easily irritated? When we are not at peace within ourselves, we tend to project that state towards others as a justification for our lack of peace. Have you ever noticed when you have sinned within your heart and, unknown to others, you find opportunities to be irritated at their behavior? It just seems that you are looking for a fight or a confrontation. This irritability usually has sin at its source....
Anger is a "call to action." Your pulse increases and your breathing increases in preparation for action to remediate, to defend and protect the truth. The key is to sin not when responding to this call to action. Our Heavenly Father responded in righteous anger toward the sinfulness of the people. Anger heats things up. Purging sin requires a refiner's fire to separate the dross and purify our souls....
We are told to be slow to anger so that we may fully understand the situation before taking action. For those of us with sons, how often have we looked for a tool and blamed our son for taking it, only to find it near the last project we used it on? Our lack of complete understanding and information should warn us of moving too quickly to judge a situation. Love will slow that process and allow for the possibility of another reason for an action by the other person....
It is critical to take an inward view of yourself when you have been provoked to anger by another. You must answer the question of whether your anger resulted from their unrighteous actions or your deep-seated guilt surfacing as a defense mechanism. Did you trap the other person into a situation where you could evoke your wrath on them? Is their behavior generally irritating you, and so you start looking for a reason for confrontation? This is not Love. Love looks to correct and redeem the other person, not attack them....
(Mark 11:15-18 is then quoted, in regard to Jesus running the moneychangers out of the Temple.)
From the above passage we see that sin fears Love, not the reverse. The moneychangers had defiled the temple and had commercialized it. Jesus single handedly drove them out of the temple and astonished the people. Love is not just a passive emotion cowering down to dominating, socially accepted rebellious people. Love hears Our Heavenly Father's voice and acts accordingly. Jesus did not appear as a weakling to the moneychangers, but was empowered by Love and acted on the words of His Father who is also our Father as well. Our Heavenly Father saw fit to give a triple witness of this facet which demands our full attention to this aspect of Love.
Love does not start wars, it ends them. Israel was expecting a conquering messiah but instead Jesus came to save the world through Love and went to the cross. Israel was blinded by their doctrine to the point that the Son of God walked among them and they could not "see" Him for who He was. Today many people are looking for that same messiah to come down and evoke a global judgment and throw all those sinners into a lake of fire forever. "That will show them!" Do you think that Our Heavenly Father who opens eyes and closes eyes, opens ears and closes ears, will really send people to burn for eternity? If GOD IS LOVE and Love is not easily provoked, there must be another level of understanding about those Scriptures that have led many to believe the "turn or burn" doctrine.
The Law in Scripture represents the character of the Lawgiver, and there was no punishment that compared to the "burning in hell" doctrine. We must either believe that Our Heavenly Father has a perfect plan of redemption or HE failed to account for all soulish actions of His creation. Jesus' actions were not conditional to whether you or I agreed to be righteous and committed to serve mankind. There was no if, then. Clearly, the patience of Our Heavenly Father supersedes His wrath, or this whole world would have been wiped out long ago. The Creator is ultimately accountable for the created!
Excellent, my friend. If any of you want to read the rest of the book, you can order it for $16 by writing to the address at the following web site:
Dr. Stephen Jones