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Friday, January 22, 2010

Love: Battling the Unbelief of Bitterness

"{Love} is not irritable or resentful..." - 1 Cor. 13:5

VII. It tempers and restrains the passions. Ou paroxynetai--is not exasperated. It corrects a sharpness of temper, sweetens and softens the mind, so that it does not suddenly conceive, nor long continue, a vehement passion. Where the fire of love is kept in, the flames of wrath will not easily kindle, nor long keep burning. Charity will never be angry without a cause, and will endeavor to confine the passions within proper limits, that they may not exceed the measure that is just, either in degree or duration. Anger cannot rest in the bosom where love reigns. It is hard to be angry with those we love, but very easy to drop our resentments and be reconciled.


VIII. Charity thinks no evil. It cherishes no malice, nor gives way to revenge: so some understand it. It is not soon, nor long, angry; it is never mischievous, nor inclined to revenge; it does not suspect evil of others, ou logizetai to kakon--it does not reason out evil, charge guilt upon them by inference and innuendo, when nothing of this sort appears open. True love is not apt to be jealous and suspicious; it will hide faults that appear, and draw a veil over them, instead of hunting and raking out those that lie covered and concealed: it will never indulge suspicion without proofs, but will rather incline to darken and disbelieve evidence against the person it affects. It will hardly give into an ill opinion of another, and it will do it with regret and reluctance when the evidence cannot be resisted; hence it will never be forward to suspect ill, and reason itself into a bad opinion upon mere appearances, nor give way to suspicion without any. It will not make the worst construction of things, but put the best face that it can on circumstances that have no good appearance.


Such love guards against the root of anger that damages the soul.


Anger -"If it takes root in your heart and becomes a grudge or an unforgiving spirit, it can destroy you. That's the point of Jesus' parable in Matthew 18 about the unforgiving servant: after having his massive debt canceled by the king, he refuses to cancel the tiny debt of his friend. And so the king throws him into jail for his heartlessness. Jesus closes the parable with this warning in verse 35: "So also will my heavenly Father do to every one of you if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."


Anger is very dangerous. It can take over your heart, turn into a lasting grudge, or an unforgiving spirit, and the result will be judgment. Jesus said very plainly in Matthew 6:15, "If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." To feel the weight of that warning let's put it in three parts:

  1. No one goes to heaven unforgiven by God. Heaven is a place given only to forgiven sinners.
  2. No one is forgiven who is unwilling to be forgiving.
  3. No one goes to heaven who is unforgiving.

Jesus treats anger the way he treats lust. If you don't fight lust, you don't go to heaven (Matthew 5:29). If you don't forgive others, you won't get to glory (Matthew 6:15)."

- John Piper

Sources:

Matthew Henry Commentary

Battling the Unbelief of Bitterness - John Piper

1 comments:

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