1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
There are three major kinds of love identified by three Greek words; eros, phileo, and agape.
We are most familiar with eros love, or romantic love.
As its name indicates, eros is passionate or sexual love (eros is the source of the English word erotic). The second major kind of love is phileo the Greek word for friendship love.
Phileo refers to brotherly love and is most often exhibited in a close friendship. Best friends will display this generous and affectionate love for each other as each seeks to make the other happy.
Agape is the most powerful, noblest type of love. Agape is sacrificial love. Agape love is more than a feeling—it is an act of the will. This is the kind of love that can be commanded and controlled or directed by the mind and will of the person who chooses to love.
This is the love that God has for His people and that prompted the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus, for our sins.
If love is not easily angered, then a person with a “short fuse,” who becomes angry easily, is not showing love. Love is called “patient” (see Agape Is Patient). Patience and love are also listed as fruit of the Spirit (see my Fruit Of The Spirit series at this link) Patience includes the ability to tolerate weaknesses in others without readily expressing anger. Love doesn’t fly off the handle at every provocation.
1 Peter 4:8 NIV Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Anger itself is not sinful but can quickly lead to sinful expressions.
Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
There are times when we become angry, yet we are called to express our anger in non-sinful, constructive ways. Love will guide us in the proper handling of anger. Jesus Himself was angry on at least one occasion:
Mark 3:5 NIV He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.
Jesus was angry, but He did not sin.
Hebrews 4:15 NIV For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin. (emphasis mine)
In fact, He used the situation for good, healing a man’s hand.
Rather than pretend that we will never feel angry, Scripture simply says to be “slow to become angry”.
James 1:19-20 NIV My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. (emphasis mine)
God is “slow to anger, abounding in love”.
Psalms 86:15 NIV But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
The truth that God is measured in His wrath is immediately followed by the truth that He overflows with love. The connection between the two is obvious. Love puts the brakes on anger, slowing it down for the sake of the one loved.
Being hot tempered usually involves making snap judgments, seeking instant vindication, and refusing to grant second chances. However, true love refuses to jump to conclusions, take revenge, or hastily judge anyone.
The fact that love is “not easily angered” highlights God’s patient love for the world.
2 Peter 3:9 NIV The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
May God grant us the type of love that can keep our anger in check.