Love is Not Irritable or Resentful- Abide in My Love Series

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What causes us to get irritated at another person? Is it a lack of patience? Are some people just able to push all the wrong buttons? Maybe, but the root of our irritability goes deeper yet.  It stems from our own desires and wants.  It grows from a selfish attitude.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. (James 4:1-2)

When I get irritated it is almost 100% of the time because I am putting my own wants and desires above the needs of others.  I get irritated because my heart is focused on what I want.  I want my children to be quieter in the grocery store so I can avoid the aggravated looks from strangers as my boys fight like ninjas in the isles and my 3 year old daughter screams for cookies.  I speak to them, irritated, because I selfishly want others to see me as a good parent.

I get irritated in my marriage because I get too caught up in the little things that do not matter.  I stress over the dishes and laundry and forget to just love my husband and put his needs first.  More joy comes from snuggling on the couch talking with him about his day than running around doing silly chores while complaining about having to do them.  And he would rather me be in his arms and have my attention than have a spotless kitchen and clean clothes in his drawer.

Lately my own worst enemy that causes me to be irritable is my iPhone. I am horribly and shamefully addicted. Like Pavlov’s dogs I pick it up immediately when it rings, no matter what I am doing.  I get sucked into that email or article or weather report or,  Facebook {BUM, BUM, BUUMMMM}  My children interrupt to ask for something and I lash out in frustration because I am trying to read an email or write a text. Here is a link to a great blog post about Distracted Parenting for those of you who struggle in this area.

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Biblically, how do we stop this sinful behavior of irritability?

Proverbs 17:14 says,

“The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.”

It starts out small, so looking for triggers and being aware of them keeps us from letting the flood gates open.  Walking in love will help us to humble ourselves in thanksgiving and serve with love and patience.  Taking a moment of pray can plug that little leak in the dam.  Are you getting irritated because you are putting your wants and desires above the needs of others? Remember, love is putting others needs before our own and doing so expecting nothing in return. We have our Lord Jesus as our perfect example of this sacrificial love.  

This leads us into the last part of verse 5, “Love is not resentful”.  In Greek,  this verse reads, “Love is not irritable and does not count up wrongdoing”.   In Christ, we have been blessed by God, and are counted righteous apart from works. (Romans 4:6)

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. (Psalm 32:1-2)

God does not count up wrongdoing to those who are his in Christ.  When he looks upon us, he sees his righteous Son.  He loves us and we are called to abide in His love.  We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19) Loving others takes sacrifice.  And Jesus showed us this to the greatest degree, giving his own life for us to have life eternally with him.

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

When we love others, we keep no record of wrongs.  We forgive and forget. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches his disciples and us that praying for forgiveness of our sins requires that we have already forgiven those who have sinned against us. “And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us” (Luke 11:4).  Withholding forgiveness and having resentment towards others is not love.  It is not the love God has shown to us and and the love he commands us to have toward one another.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)

Some questions to ask ourselves:

1. What is it that really causes you to get irritated? Consider what might trigger it and aim to stop it in its tracks with God’s word hidden in your heart.

2. Are you letting your own desires and wants cloud your thoughts and not putting others first? Remember “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. (1 Corinthians 10:24)

3. Is there someone in your life that you are counting up wrongdoing? Are you keeping a mental record of wrongs in your heart causing you to resent someone and not love them? Seek to forgive them and ask for forgiveness for your own sin.

As we enter this Season of Thanksgiving, let us remember all we have to be thankful for in our Lord and Savior.  For thankfulness will produce praise and rejoicing in our hearts and when we have the Joy of the Lord as our strength, loving others will not be a burden, but a delight.  Have a blessed day!

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