1 Corinthians 13 — Love is Not Irritable — Wait a Minute! Don’t Talk to Me til I Have Had My Coffee…

Posted: July 23, 2015 in 1 Corinthians
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1 Corinthians 13 — The next characteristic of what love is not is one that seems a little beyond reason. Paul says that love is not irritable (in the New Living Translation – other translations may say “not easily angered”). Man, that’s a tough one. Don’t we all get irritable at times? First thing in the morning before I get my coffee, I would have to say that I am irritable. My wife knows not to have a serious conversation with me for at least a half hour after I get up. I am not openly hostile first thing in the morning, but irritable yes. I am certainly not one of those people that pops out of bed all bright, sunny, and perky. Those people I just want slap first thing in the morning because…well…I am irritable. Waking up first thing in the morning, many of us are irritable to a certain degree. But for most of us it passes after we smash the alarm clock into small little pieces and have had our first cup of coffee. We must choose to lose our irritable nature. However, if we remain irritable or have an irritable disposition in general, it is the opposite of love.

If we look back to Mark 6:30-44, we see irritability in action among the disciples. They had experienced a long day of staging and managing one of what I like to call Jesus’ revival meetings. Jesus had been speaking to and teaching 5,000 people plus women and children. So, really, the crowd was around 10,000 with the women and kids. Big crowd. Imagine workers at a Billy Graham crusade meeting doing all the behind the scenes work to make Mr. Graham’s services in those large venues seem seamless. It is hard work to make a big event seem like its effortless. So, the disciples were tired by the end of the day. They were irritable. Irritable people just want people to go away. They want to be left alone. The disciples just wanted everybody to go home. They were tired, they were hungry themselves, and they just wanted to be alone so they could rest and eat. But yet Jesus, who was in his flesh, probably tired too. However, Jesus did the opposite of what irritable people do, He invited people to stay and eat. He invited them to be a part of a miracle.

When we are irritable, we desire not to consider others needs. When we are irritable, we are being selfish and self-centered. When we are irritable, we think our needs are superior to everyone else’s needs. Sure, we can have very valid reasons for being irritable but aren’t they all self-centered? I am tired. I have worked a long hard day. I am under a great deal of stress. All of these are valid reasons to be irritable. In our irritability we are forcing people to make exceptions for our bad behavior. When we are irritable, we are saying to the world, look at me and my issues and you please accommodate me and excuse how I am acting like a real ass. We want act the way we want and just pull out that free pass called the irritable card. Is this love?

Love is not irritable. Love has consideration for others. Love says that other people are just as valuable as I am. When we have a loving nature, yes, we may feel all yucky and irritable inside but we choose not to take it out on others. When we have a loving nature, we do not force others to suffer because I am having a bad day. If you have had a crappy day at work and it has made you irritable, does your wife deserve to be yelled at for the slightest little thing when you get home. When we are irritable, we do not have respect for others. When we have love, we consider and we respect that your wife may have been having a great day until you ruined it with your self-centered irritability. Irritability is a sign that we just say everybody needs to deal with me. Everybody needs to come to the emotional place that I am at. Love shows us a better way.

Jesus could have easily been irritable on Good Friday. Talk about your bad days. By the end of it, He was hanging on a cross in excruciating pain. As God in the flesh, He could have said I am tired of this, got down of the cross and made mankind pay for putting Him on the cross. He could have zapped our forefathers all over this planet into oblivion on that day. However, He choose to consider our eternal future. He knew He had to be on that cross. He knew it had to be done to give us the opportunity to be reconciled unto Him. That is love. That is not irritation. That is not short-fused anger. That is not making you deal with my bad stuff. That is not making you deal with my pain. That is love. Doing what is best for others. Setting aside my selfish desire to have my needs met and have everyone deal with that is being Christ-like.

When we have a loving nature, we realize that the world is not all about me. When we can love it lifts us beyond our selfish needs. When we love, we get to be parts of miracles. When we love we get to see the miracles. Isn’t ironic that when we have an irritable nature and want everybody to see us and massage our needs, we tend to drive people away. Yet, when we love we are focused on the needs of others is when people are drawn to us and meet our needs in ways greater than we could have ever imagined when we are being selfish. Isn’t that the irony of love? When we give up our selfish attitudes and give, give, give of ourselves that we end up having more, more, more. Love. Love. Love. All we need is love.

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