Since God is love (1 John 4:8), the guiding principle in the life of His children is love.
We are to love one another. This is challenging behavior in a fallen world.
People – sometimes even Christians – don’t always conduct themselves in loving ways.
It is easy to love a loving person; it is quite another thing to love those who misbehave. And yet, the conduct of others is not what determines Christian behavior. We are led by the absolute truth that eternally abides in God. We are to love because He is love.
So how then do we love the unlovely?
Scripture gives direct counsel to believers who have become angry. We are told,
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).
None of this honors God.
None of this is in keeping with the love of God. It is the kind of behavior that must be put away. It must be stopped. But, the text goes on to explain that stopping bad behavior is not sufficient. The exhortation continues,
“And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
The antidote to anger is not just to settle down – it is to act in a loving way.
The anger is to be stopped by treating the unworthy with kindness, tender-heartedness, and forgiveness. This is the way that love conducts itself among Christians. Love does not display itself only toward those who are deserving of that love. It is given because of the love of God which reigns in the heart of every Christian. The Holy Spirits manifests His presence in us by revealing His love in us and through us.
We are led by God to seek the greatest good of others at the sacrifice of ourselves in all of life.
This is our privilege in light of our living relationship with God. So, when you find yourself welling up with anger, remember that you were saved by the God of love to walk in love. Look to God to give you a tender heart of compassion and forgive, forgive and forgive. Forgiveness is never an option for the Christian. We are always to forgive in the same way that God have forgiven us in Christ. The standard is perfect forgiveness. This must be our pursuit.
May the Lord help us to quiet our restless hearts and walk in the love of God.