Summary: Exposition of 1 Cor 13:5-6 regarding the next three qualities of Christian love: not easily angered, not keeping records of wrongs, rejoices in truth, not in inquities
Text: 1 Corinthians 13:5b-6, Title: The Hallmarks of Love 3, Date/Place: NRBC, 3/7/10, AM
A. Opening illustration: A young man left his employer, a lumber merchant, and began business in opposition to him. For a while he prospered greatly and got many orders that would have gone to the firm he had left. But just when his business seemed to be most flourishing, and he had more orders than he could supply, a great fire in his yard destroyed all his lumber. The day after the fire he saw his old employer coming toward his office, and he said, “I could have hated him, for I thought he was coming to gloat over my misfortune. But he came to me as a friend in need and said, “I know you are contracted to supply lumber to your customers by certain dates, and this unfortunate fire makes it impossible for you to do it. But my lumberyard is at your disposal. You can have what you need and pay me at your own convenience. Your business may go on as usual.” The young man was overwhelmed by this example; the hatred that he had felt gave place to love.
B. Background: Paul continues in his list of defining qualities of Christian love. Four more verbs indicate things that love is not. Reminder: agape love is defined as an unconditional, self-sacrificing, and highly valuing love.
C. Main thought: Three more hallmarks of genuine Christian love.
A. Love is not getting easily angered (v. 5b)
1. In Corinth, one group was puffed up with pride over their status in the church and use of spiritual gifts, and the other group was angry about their attitude and injury. One group boasted and bragged, while the other became better and nursed their wounds. Paul says that both are in the wrong. It’s kinda like marriage counseling when one or both spouses come expecting you to fix the other because they are the problem. This character of love is a continuance or a reemphasis of exercising patience, as found in v. 4. This word means to be easily angered, irritated, incited, or stirred up to anger. It means something between irritation and anger which takes offense because one’s self-regard has been dented, wounded, or punctured by some sharp point. It speaks of love’s ability not to be led into sinful reactions toward others, even when persistently pestered. It speaks of a lack of concern for one’s own rights, in that we don’t get angry when we are deprived. It speaks of the difference between righteous anger and sinful concern for self. In fact this word was used of Paul in Athens when his spirit was provoked within him over idolatry.
2. Pro 14:17, 15:18; Pro 16:32; Col 3:8, Eph 4:31, Matt 5:22, Pro 29:11
3. Illustration: “She makes me so angry.” “Love cannot alter the fact that one may get on your nerves, but it can rule out allowing yourself to be provoked by it.” Karl Barth, “Love considers nothing its right, and everything its obligation” –JM, It is said of Julius Caesar that, when provoked, he used to repeat the whole Roman alphabet before he allowed himself to speak. Keep cool; anger is not an argument. “He who goes to bed angry has the devil for a bed-fellow.” Never take your enemies to bed with you.”
4. This is again one of those hallmarks of love that we must learn, and rely on the Holy Spirit to bring about fruit in our lives. Tell about my encounter with Charlie at Ronnie’s house that summer. Speak about small “temper bombs.” Explain how it doesn’t matter how you think you are made (by the way, it is actually the sin nature that is to blame, but that does not absolve responsibility). It is not only loving to defer anger, but wise. When we speak in anger, all we usually do is get into trouble. Scientific studies have proven you can calm the swell of anger with the tone and volume of your voice—Pro 15:1. This applies to parents and their children: you must not discipline in anger, but in calm, careful, calculated punishment and correction; so that their hearts are pointed toward God as a loving father who disciplines as well as toward the parents. Husbands, have you been angry at your wives this week? Wives at husbands? Telling them you love them, then acting the opposite will short-circuit your words and your integrity and their emotions. Someone at work make you mad? Children, have you angry at your parents this week? Ever notice how that those temper bombs produce broken relationships over things that amount to little consequence. We MUST learn to control our temper! It is not beyond our control; we do it all the time for fear of legal or social consequences. Consider a mother who has a terrible day. The washer leaks on the floor, kids fight, supper burns, she breaks her favorite bowl, kids track mud on her clean floor. So she explodes, screams at the kids and threatens them. Then the phone rings and it's her husband's boss. Suddenly she is quite capable of carrying on a polite conversation. Dad works on the car. The dealer gives him a wrong part, it won't go together right, then it won't run, and a wrench slips and splits his knuckle. He's screaming and using profanity. Then a car pulls in the driveway; it's the preacher's wife come for a visit. Suddenly he is calm and polite. We should fear the spiritual consequences. Consider a mother who has a terrible day. The washer leaks on the floor, kids fight, supper burns, she breaks her favorite bowl, kids track mud on her clean floor. So she explodes, screams at the kids and threatens them. Then the phone rings and it's her husband's boss. Suddenly she is quite capable of carrying on a polite conversation In fact, displeasure to God should be our primary motivation over and above legal consequences or personal benefit/gain.