Summary: This message deals with the answer to our angry moments - LOVE.
Anger Part 4 (Applied Love)
This message will conclude my series on anger. This morning we will revisit what Paul wrote to the Church of Ephesus in Ephesians chapter 4. Please turn with me to this chapter and we will begin reading at verse twenty-six. As we read this Scripture this morning I want you to think of a situation where you were very angry. Now imagine Paul speaking directly to you about this situation in an attempt to calm you down before you cross the line and sin against God. “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 4:26-32; 5:1-2)
If I were to paraphrase key verses from this Scripture as I talked to someone I cared about who was angry, it would sound like this: “I know that you are angry and rightfully so, but you cannot respond like you want to and potentially sin against the God you serve. Why? Because we are living testimonies for God and our enemy will take our response and use it to destroy our testimony. So because you belong to God, you cannot go off on the person by raising your voice and cussing and screaming at them, even if they are doing that to you. Because the Holy Spirit dwells within you, He will enable you to withstand and speak grace to the situation even though that seems impossible to you right now. So please let go of the anger and bitterness that you are feeling knowing that your response to the situation is critical to your personal testimony. Apply love to the situation and for the person because only true love can defeat true anger. We are to imitate God in everything we do and God is love so in this situation that you are dealing with right now, see past the person, see past what has been said, and apply the love of God.” If you and I were having this conversation would you listen? Would these words help you to calm down and refocus on what is best for you and potentially the other person? Would you walk away feeling better or would you walk away thinking that in your time of need all I gave you was some religious mumbo jumbo when you were really seeking support and approval to handle your business? How would you respond to this advice?
This morning I want to focus on “applied love.” Applied love is when you proactively apply love (respond with love) to a given situation. For example, when I was a child if we were playing outside and someone fell and got hurt, the older people would say something like, “Go bring me that container of salve.” I don’t have a clue as to what was in the salve (sometimes it was from the store and sometimes it was homemade) but when they asked for the salve you knew your sore was about to be taken care of. They would get that salve and apply it to the cuts and life was good again. We don’t use that word much today because we’re more educated. Now we say, “Go put some Neosporin on it” and for me it just does not sound the same as “go get the salve.” My point with this is there was an injury and the salve was the ointment that started the healing process. When we get angry, there is an injury and love is the salve that starts the healing process. Let me give you a clearer picture of this. Your child comes running to you screaming because they fell down. You ask that child where does it hurt and they point to their arm, their head, or wherever they are feeling pain. Now if this was the mother, she would then tell their child, “I am going to kiss it and make it better.” The mother would take her child, so matter how smelly or dirty they were, and kiss that sore spot. When the mother kissed that sore spot, that child felt better and often ran off to go back to playing. That mother, taking her child in her arms and kissing that sore spot, is an example of applying love to an injury and through that love the child was made to feel better. It does not matter if the child was truly hurt or not, the fact was the child thought they were hurt and a kiss from the mother who loved them made them feel better. That’s applied love. That’s how God wants us to respond to our angry moments because love is the only thing that conquers anger. Now I cannot speak about the mothers without speaking about the fathers. In that same situation, what would the father do? Some fathers would kiss it to make it better if it was his daughter, but not necessarily so if it was his son. Imagine a son running up to a “real man” father and asks him to kiss his sore to make it feel better. That “real man” father with his “real man” mentality would probably tell his son that he wasn’t hurt and to grow up and be a man. There was no love applied, just an expectation that the son would deal with his “small” pain without being cuddled and made “weak.” This, my friends, is how the world wants us to respond to our angry moments. In order to not appear weak in the eyes of others, we have to respond in kind. Are you seeing the difference? This is what Peter said, “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) What covers a multitude of sin? Love! Love is the salve that covers and heals the sin. God loved us and sent His only begotten Son to die for us. Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to die for us. His loved covered all of our sin, yesterday, today and tomorrow. So if you are angry, unforgiveness follows close behind so you better get that salve of love out and start applying it!