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Love is Not Easily Angered, The Behavior of Love, Part 3

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Behavior of Love #7 – Love is Not Self-Seeking

What is self-seeking love? And why is it bad?

Self-seeking love is all-about-me love. It is love that lacks humility and concern for others. In Philippians Chapter 2 at verse 3, we’re instructed to “… Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind…”

Our love is to be selfless love.

God blessed me with a wife who perfectly understands that principle. And, I must confess, I have been less than selfless in our 46 years together. She has supported me through all of my vocational pursuits, even those with which she may have disagreed. In other words, our relationship has been more about me than her.

It’s not that I haven’t always loved her or sought to meet her needs, but she was saddled with so many of the responsibilities that my busy work schedule kept me from. She bore the majority of the burden of raising our boys, maintaining the home, and cooking meals.

In these latter years, I’ve been trying harder to level the playing field. She’s a talented artist, and I am committed to helping her reach for the stars.

Selfless love gives, shares, and invests in the lives of others. It’s the behavior of love that takes you off the stage and gives the limelight to other performers.

In marriage counseling, I often told young couples to put one another on a pedestal. Successful relationships require two pedestals. Just one leads to trouble.

Back to our affirmation list. Following are my thoughts, and then you can share your ideas.

Affirmations on Selfless Love
  • “We’re in this together.”
  • “Your opinion matters.”
  • “It’s not all about me.”
  • “You first.”
  • “I will do all I can to help you get what you want out of life.”

Behavior of Love #8 – Love is not easily angered

We’ve made it to the eighth behavior of love: ANGER. Notice, Paul allows a little provocation. “Love is not easily angered.” That goes back to the patience we talked about earlier.

Anger is destructive. Picture if you will — rioting in the streets, police vehicles torched, store windows shattered, protesters shouting and carrying signs with hateful messages. I use hostile civil disobedience to make a point about how damaging anger can be to our personal relationships. Such behavior tears down, breeds contempt and animosity, and divides.

Have you ever heard kind words spoken in anger? Neither have I. If love is patient and kind, it stands to reason there is little room for anger.

Years ago, in my radio days, I was the program director of a radio station in Jackson, MS. I was also the morning DJ. One day, one of our newscasters did something (can’t remember what) that set me off. I pitched a fit and slung an album cover across the studio. She made a beeline to my boss and accused me of intentionally trying to hit her. To be clear, I was not aiming for her.

My boss believed me, and the issue was dropped. But my credibility with a fellow employee was damaged.

The road back from fits of anger is long and difficult. That little saying we learned as children, “I take it back,” doesn’t work for adults. “I was angry and didn’t mean what I said,” doesn’t cut it either. Wounded feelings take time to heal.

Affirmations on Love Not Easily Angered
  • “I will do my best to keep my anger under control.”
  • “I’ll not take my frustrations out on you.”
  • “I will take my anger to an isolated place to give myself time to cool down.”

Behavior of Love #9 – Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs

Stop for a moment and consider that statement. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Wow.

Mable Polk, my grandmother, was the godliest person I’ve ever known. But she never forgot anything I ever did wrong. How vividly I recall how she pointed out my errant behavior and then followed it with an exhaustive list of every infraction since the day I was born. She never forgot anything.

Over the years, I’ve learned she wasn’t the only record keeper of wrongs. We all do it. If you don’t believe me, next time somebody does something with which you take exception, notice your sudden recollection of a list of previous offences.

There’s long been a debate about forgiving and forgetting. Some say you haven’t truly forgiven unless you have forgotten their transgression. Others maintain that some things can’t be forgotten.

Here’s my opinion. Spiritual maturity is acting contrary to the desires of the flesh. You want to be angry but restrain your behavior out of a desire to honor God. You want to lash out, act unkindly, but your uppermost aspiration is to rise above those inclinations. So it is with that record of wrongs. True enough, the offending party has disappointed you in the past with unacceptable behavior. But now, as a child of God, you know you must give grace and dismiss the record of wrongs.

When God looks at us, He doesn’t judge us based on our record, but on the unblemished record of Jesus Christ. To be sure, He knows everything we’ve ever done or said, but all that matters is the perfect work of Christ who lives in us.

Affirmations on Keeping a Record of Wrongs
  • “Once a matter has past I will endeavor to put it out of sight and out of mind.”
  • “When we have disagreements I will not bring up past offences.”
  • “I will not use past offences to nag or belittle you.”

Paul has laid out an extreme challenge. He has given us the Biblical design for what love is and what it is not.

Let us endeavor to change our behavior to conform to God’s design for love. As we conform to these nine traits of Christian love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5, we will be the salt and light in the world as desired by our Lord.

But wait, there’s more. In verses 6 and 7 he adds to his list to bring the total to 16 qualities of Christian love. We’ll go to work on that tomorrow.

For more on this topic, check out this article: God’s Plan for Anger Management

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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