Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things I Corinthians 13:4-7
Some versions say “love is not irritable or resentful”. While that is true and accurate, I like this one that says “love is not provoked”. As my husband says, "love is not prickly!" What a great concept!
A wise friend of mine shared with me that he and his wife pray to “not be offended”. That gave me so much to ponder – I had not ever thought to pray that before, but what a wonderful thing to do! LOVE is not easily offended, does not get provoked, does not become irritable or resentful. Let’s unpack it further…
The Greek word that we translate as “provoked” or “irritable” or “offended” is paroxuno. It is defined as “sharpness of spirit, to be irritated or incensed”. From this we see that love cannot be sharpened to react towards others with an irritation of spirit. In other words, love would never say “She makes me so mad!” or “He annoys me!”. A characteristic of love is to be good-natured and peaceful, even when being mistreated. No spewing of temper, no outburst of exasperation, no hyper-sensitivity, no taking offense, no resentment, no temper tantrum…regardless of the action of others.
When we are controlled by the Spirit, we will not be quick to take offense, to be “prickly”. Instead, the disruptions and disappointments and disturbances of life are met with a confidence that God is always at work, causing all things to work together for His glory and for the good of those who love Him. This assurance enables us to meet all circumstances (and all peoples) with a sweetness of temper, a gentleness of attitude, and a genuinely optimistic outlook.
Love. It is not easily provoked. It does not anger easily nor react with irritability nor take offense. Let’s ask the Lord to produce that maturity of love within us as well.