A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated. Proverbs 14:17
Love is not easily provoked: not easily angered; not ready to take offence; not quick tempered; not “touchy.” It is not easily aroused to anger; does not become “exasperated.”
The word for “easily angered” could also be translated “touchy,” “irritable,” or “sensitive to slights.” Such people let things ‘linger’ so they eventually ‘get on their nerves.’
We live in a world where we are looking for reasons to be upset. The courts are filled with people being sued over words/actions that a few years back would have been laughed at.
Anger is an emotion that was God’s idea. “Be angry,” he urges, “and do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26 nkjv ).
Don’t let the sun go down while you are angry.
It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. (When something occurs in our day, IF we do not handle it quickly, we forfeit the ‘right’ to bring it up on another day/week).
Anger is not a sin, but it can lead to sin. Perhaps your anger doesn’t lead you to shed blood, but does it make you touchy, irritable, quick-tempered, quick to take offense? Do you fly off the handle? Can you let ‘words slide off your back?’
When believers exercise their gifts in love, they will be able to give one another some latitude to follow God as they see fit. They will not let themselves be easily provoked over disagreements, but they will be able to always respond in a loving manner.
Anger can be a motivating factor when directed against wrongs or injustices. People who are “easily angered…this can stifle their service for God and the use of their gifts.
Love controls the emotions, and never becomes angry without a cause (Romans 12:18).
- The real meaning of this is that Christian love never becomes exasperated with people.
- Exasperation is always a sign of defeat.
- When we lose our tempers, we lose everything.
Kipling said that it was the test of a man if he could keep his head when everyone else was losing his and blaming it on him, and if when he was hated he did not give way to hating. The man who is master of his temper can be master of anything.
Aristotle: Anybody can become angry—that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way—that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.
Paul uses the term to describe a short-fused person who is easily and quickly provoked to take action which is not edifying to either party.
Love does not “blow its cork,” “lose its cool,” or “blow a fuse.” Love does not have a chip on its shoulder, looking for some tiny straw of offense so it can ventilate all its anger and hostility.
The apostle does not rule out righteous indignation. Love cannot “rejoice in unrighteousness” (1 Cor. 13:6).
- To be angered by the mistreatment of the unfortunate or by the maligning and contradiction of God’s Word is righteous indignation.
- But when it is truly righteous, indignation will never be provoked by something done against us personally. When Jesus cleansed the Temple, He was angered at the profaning of His Father’s house of worship (Matt. 21:11-12). But on the many occasions when He was personally vilified or abused, He did not once become angry or defensive.
- This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God (James 1:19-20).
- 1 Peter 2:20–23: But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
- Paul was only angered by the things that anger God. He responded strongly against such things as heresy, immorality, and misuse of spiritual gifts. But he did not become angry at those who beat him, jailed him, or lied about him (see Acts 23:1-5).
The Corinthians are obviously provoked in a number of areas. Some are provoked enough to take their brethren to court (chapter 6). Others seem provoked to divorce their mates (chapter 7). Still others are provoked to go on ahead with the Lord’s Supper without waiting for all to arrive (chapter 11).
There is a time for righteous indignation, but let us be certain it is truly righteous wrath and not just human anger with a pious label:
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (James 3:13-18).
We get angry when another person gains a privilege or recognition we want for ourselves, because it is our “right.” But to put our rights before our duty and before loving concern for others comes from self-centeredness and lovelessness.
The loving person is more concerned about doing what he should and helping where he can than in having what he thinks are his rights and his due. Love considers nothing its right and everything its obligation.
- Telling our wives or husbands that we love them is not convincing if we continually get upset and angry at what they say and do.
- Telling our children that we love them is not convincing if we yell at them for doing things that irritate us and interfere with our own plans.
- It does no good to protest, “I lose my temper a lot, but it’s all over in a few minutes.” So is a nuclear bomb.
A great deal of damage can be done in a very short time. Temper is always destructive, and even small temper “bombs” can leave much hurt and damage, especially when they explode on a regular basis. Lovelessness is the cause of temper, and love is the only cure.
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.
Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you. Isocrates (436–338 b.c.)
Don’t fly into a rage unless you are prepared for a rough landing.
 Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), 1 Co 13:5.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Pe 2:20–23.