4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is not irritable or resentful. If we want to love like God calls us to love, then it’s crucial we take the time to unravel these original meaning of these words. When you look up irritable, it means easily angered, annoyed, or provoked. In Paul’s original text, the word is the passive form of the verb to provoke or bring to a sharp point, meaning the person is being acted upon, but not acting itself. So, it would seem what he was trying to say to us is that love does not respond when triggered. In other words, someone who loves well chooses to accept another’s attacks without fighting back. When our loved ones seem to be grumpy, or come after us trying to incite us, when they are pushing our buttons, or trying to anger us, someone who loves well does not fight back. It’s important to note, that it does not mean we sit silently while fuming inside, or we respond by isolating ourselves until they apologize. To say love is not irritable means we truly are not provoked to respond.
Those words are more easily said than done. When angry and hurtful words are being launched at you, it’s easy to become offended or hurt and fight back or isolate. But if we are to truly love like Jesus loves, we need to change our perspective. Perhaps the other person is operating from a place where they feel angry or hurt, maybe they had a bad day or a difficult interaction. In my hurt, I’ve spent a great deal of times on my knees trying to understand the other person’s perspective - God always opens my eyes when I seek His help. I’ve learned how to not take words thrown at me so personally, even when it sounds directed at me because that’s what God calls me to do. Our response is to not be irritable, to not to be offended or hurt by their words, but simply to love them.
It’s a choice. When we choose to not be irritable, we are choosing to show mercy to others in our lives as God has shown us mercy. We do not get what we deserve, instead we receive mercy from our Father in heaven. This is the same mindset we must have when we love others - we must choose to show mercy.
When you read the ESV version of the Bible, you see a footnote under resentful, “does not count up wrongdoing.” By dictionary definition, resentful means to feel indignation at some remark or act by another person, but the connotation is about keeping score. It’s the piling up of hurtful actions, the hanging on to past injuries. Someone who is resentful will bring up things from the past that should be let go.
God calls us to immediate forgiveness, which means the offense is never to be brought up again. If you’re holding on to the things a person in your life has done, you are not forgiving. The danger in not forgiving is that things easily pile on top of hurt. The first unforgiven hurt provides a foundation for more hurts to be piled on - the hurts are suddenly more easy to come by and harder to forgive.
God doesn’t keep track of our sins against Him, we should not keep track of others. He chooses to show us grace. If we are to love like He does, we must choose to show grace in the same way to others in our lives. It can be hard to let things go in our own power, but if we go to Him with our hurts and lay them down, He will show us how to forgive as He does. Many times, we will be able to lay the hurt down, but the enemy causes us to go back and pick it up again. He will bring to mind a hurt from the last, and instantly we are feeling that same emotion. In those moments, we must choose to bring those thoughts obedient to Christ by bringing them right back before the Lord and laying them down again. One important step we tend to miss in learning to forgive is our confession and repentance. When we fail to forgive, the sin is on our shoulders. We must confess that sin to God, and choose repentance before we can truly move past it. And when we do that, the foundation to pile on other hurts is destroyed.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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