Love Not Provoked
The Greek translation for the word provoked, means to arouse to anger. It is the same as a sudden outburst of emotion. Love guards against being angered, irritated and upset by things said or done against it. The apostle Paul never ruled out a righteous indignation in his biblical teaching.
This type of anger hates injustice, immorality, ungodliness, and every other sin. Love cannot “rejoice in unrighteousness” (1 Corinthians 13:6). When Jesus cleansed the Temple, He was angered at the sinfulness and the profanity of His Father’s house of worship (Matthew 21:11-12).
But on many occasions when He was personally attacked and abused, He never once became angry or defensive. Surely the number one reason both for mental and physical illness in our society today is the overwhelming preoccupation with our rights and the consequent loveless attitude that comes with it.
When everyone is fighting for his own rights, no one can really succeed or be happy. The popular thinking of the world, which is promoted by a lot of counselors, is to put ‘self’ first. Self generates strife, division, hatred, resentment, and war.
The world loves the powerful and often exalts the destructive as we see in a lot of movies today. The model hero is not self-giving but self-seeking, not gentle but cruel, not submissive but aggressive, not meek but proud. We get angry when another person gains a privilege or receives a recognition we wanted for ourselves, because it is our ‘right’. But to put our rights before our duty and before love comes from self-centeredness and a loveless attitude.
The loving person is more concerned about doing what is right by meeting other people’s needs and helping others where he can. There is no higher occupation on the face of this planet than to serve others. Love considers nothing its own right but everything its privilege and obligation. Telling our wives and husbands that we love them is not very convincing if we are continually getting upset and angry at what they say and do. Telling our children that we love them is not very convincing when we often yell and scream at them for doing things that irritate us and interfere with our own plans. Love that takes a person outside of himself and centers his attention on the well – being of others is the only cure for self -centeredness and a love that is not provoked.
Written by: John Denman
Pictures taken by: Paul Ding