Not Easily Angered
As a younger mom of two little girls, I sat in a women's bible study in the south and clearly remember exposing that I struggled with anger. It felt wrong to say out loud because obviously women (mothers of all people) who attend Bible study may struggle with gossip, or envy, or quiet pride, but not anger. A women came up to me as soon as our time ended and graciously thanked me because though she did not fully believe me since I was not someone she imagined would struggle with anger, she struggled also.
What gets me about this characteristic of our "love is..." list is not that anger is on the list, but specifically easily angered. It's almost as if God knew we would get angry in relationship with others and tried to really take the edge off, so he made sure 'easily' was in there so we would have a more precise guardrail. Not easily angered feels like it should be easier to handle. We know Jesus had righteous anger when overturning tables in the temple, so anger is not the problem - it's the easily angered part that is.
When I think of "love is not easily angered", its the selfish pride in me that has an agenda or to-do list and someone stands in the way of me accomplishing it. It is having to wait 10 extra minutes in the grocery store because the lines are not moving at the speed I would like. It's the child who dumps an entire box of cereal on the floor as we are walking out the door. It's the lack of accomplishing what I thought I should in a day because life is messy and hard and all the little people in my house need my presence. And God says, love...is not easily angered.
If love chooses to be patient, kind, honoring, humble - all of the characteristics we have already discussed, then "not easily angered" will just be a simple reminder and not the pinnacle of a mountain. It is always easier to follow a pursuit of good instead of dismissing the bad. So instead of focusing on controlling the anger welling inside when we don't get our way, let's instead focus on a heart that embraces humility, kindness, honor and I have a hunch that our anger won't bubble up quite as often.
ARTWORK BY: Lauren Garner of Willow & Stone Designs.
To see more of her beautifully creative artwork, check her out on Instagram @willowandstonedesigns .