Love Is Not Irritable
“[Love] is not irritable or resentful.” – 1 Corinthians 13:5
Are you a morning person?
It’s no secret that I’m a night-owl. While others start to settle in for the night, I’m still going. In fact, even when I’m tired earlier in the day, I get a second wind around 9 or 10 o’clock at night. I’ve tried changing my body’s schedule before, but it just didn’t work. Going to bed earlier doesn’t result in more sleep, just more time laying in my bed.
The problem with being a night-owl is that most of the world starts doing things early in the morning. So, I’ve frequently been in situations where I had to get up at 6am or earlier to be somewhere. And, yes, I know some of you would consider 6am sleeping in…but you’re crazy. 😉
It can be easy to be in a foul mood when I have to get up early because it usually means I only got 4-5 hours of sleep, if that. However, over the years, I’ve learned that it’s a choice. Rather than being grumpy, I can be nice, even chipper sometimes. It took some effort at first, but now it’s become pretty natural.
The Perpetually Chipper Person
We all know someone who just always seems to be in a great mood and is happy to see us. This may come naturally for them, but whether it’s natural or it took work, they have learned what it means when the Bible says, “Love is not irritable.”
So, how can we avoid being irritable?
I think there are primarily two aspects to not being irritable and both have to do with considering others.
- Don’t let your bad mood affect how you treat others. Yes, you may have had to get up early, or maybe you haven’t had coffee, yet. Maybe someone cut you off on the way to work or someone just said something nasty to you. You can still be nice to people. It’s not that you can’t have emotions. You can, but you don’t have to take that out on the next person you run into.
- Get over yourself. Sometimes the idea of love not being irritable can be related back to the statement right before this, that love doesn’t insist on its own way. It’s common for people to get irritable because they aren’t getting their own way. When we are humble and seek the good of others (and aren’t in caffeine withdrawal), it’s a lot easier to stay cheerful and encouraging.
To put this in positive terms…Seek to love others.
When we remember what Jesus has done (and continues to do) for us, it starts to put things in perspective. Also, when we seek to love others, we must consider them and their needs. That takes our minds off of ourselves and how miserable we feel.
Earlier I said it’s OK to have emotions of frustration or anger due to situations we don’t like, but what I’ve found is that when I take my eyes off myself and put them on Jesus and try to love others with a smile and a greeting, etc. Those feelings of frustration and anger often diminish if not entirely vanish.
We all know someone who always seems happy to see us and greets us with a smile. Think about how that makes you feel. It’s nice. It cheers you up. It makes you feel loved and appreciated. Guess what? You can be that someone to someone else.
Help me to always love others, even when I’m feeling grumpy because I know You always love me. Help me to remember that, even when I don’t feel my best, I may have an opportunity to be the light in someone else’s dark day, as I shine Your love into their lives.
In Christ’s Service,