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 (Manna 17)
Love Is Not Easily Provoked
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Love is not easily provoked

            God asked Cain, “Why are you angry and why has your countenance fallen?” (Gen 4:6).

In this world there is no one who will not get angry if provoked. This is a fact which no one can deny. Cain, the first born of Adam became angry with his brother. When God asked him, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen?”, he did not repent. Instead he became more angry and killed his brother, Abel, out of his great wrath.

Temper is inborn. Though we try very hard not to lose it, there will be times when we will flare up even on account of a trifle matter. Temper can be likened to that of gun powder buried in man. Some have more while others have less.

We lose our temper because we feel that an injustice has been done to us. We are provoked to retaliate. Sometimes we encounter some unscrupulous people or unhappy incidents which irritate us.

When we are in such a situation we need to pray to God to keep our temper under control. Allowing our temper to flare-up will not solve any problem.

The Bible says, “Be angry but do not sin” (Eph ). We may ask: Is there such a thing as sinless anger? We can separate “anger” from “sin”. Anger is an expression of hatred against injustice. If there is a good reason to be angry and our anger is under control, we do not sin. However, when we are angry we will often say that this is the last straw. We will not tolerate it any more. What follow are quarrel, abuse, fighting, killing, heartache, loss of friendship. Therefore, we must exercise tolerance particularly in the moment of anger. We must emulate our Lord Jesus who, “when he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly” (1 Pet ).

“Do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Eph ). “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly” (Prov 14:29). The wise can foresee the consequences brought about by wrath and so he brings his temper under control. But if a person were to hold his temper for a long time, this will bring harm to him. The Bible teaches not to let the sun go down on your anger, for harbouring anger is unhealthy because when one is angry his stomach will produce excessive gastric juices leading to ulcers. The Bible mentions of malice (1 Cor 5:3; Eph 4:31; 1 Pet 2:1). Malice is anger which has been brewing for a long time. It is a cancer of the mind and difficult to heal. Therefore, the Bible teaches us not to prolong our anger till sunset. Why bring our temper to our bed which will disturb our sleep?

            Emulate the gentleness and lowliness of the Lord (Mt ).

The Lord said, “I am gentle and lowly in my heart.” This should be the state of mind of a spiritual Christian. Vanity and pride often creep into the minds of men of wealth and position. Very often temper comes from a person’s pride and vanity. One will not allow other’s success to overshadow his own. He will not tolerate humiliation. King Saul was a classic example. He became very angry and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands and to me they have ascribed thousands; and what more can he have but the kingdom?” Saul eyed David with anger from that day on.

            Since we have been made anew in the Lord, we must control our bad temper by the renewal of the Holy Spirit and become partakers of the divine nature of God (2 Pet 1:4).

One who is angry with his brother without a cause shall be liable of judgment.

There are people who get angry with others without a cause. For example, A is angry with B and because B is very close to C, automatically A dislikes C as well. The Bible teaches that all those who get angry with others without cause shall be liable for judgment. May God have mercy on us to deliver us from our unintentional guilt.

If there is the kind of love which bears all things, the kind of love which is not resentful, the kind of love which is patient and kind, the kind of love which is not jealous or boastful, the kind of love which is not arrogant or rude, the kind of love which does not insist on its own way, then our hearts will be filled with the Holy Spirit.

We must crucify our old nature on the cross or else our temper can never be up-rooted.

            “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because he first love us” (1 Jn 1:8, 19)

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