Love Is Not Easily Angered…But What About Justice?

So I’m two months in on this resolution to try and live out the love of Christ. Some of you have asked how that’s going. I think I can illustrate with two examples from this week.

On Tuesday, I was in a wreck. Nothing major, really. A lady was turning out of a parking lot from my right and she didn’t even see me in the turn lane. She was looking at the oncoming traffic and ran right into my bumper. Her little Toyota Camry just kind of imploded; the metal and plastic around her front tire just crumbled; her hood bowed up; and her headlight exploded into a million pieces. I certainly wasn’t happy about it, but I was never upset. After all, love is not easily angered (1 Cor. 13:5). I remained calm and got out to see if she and her children were OK. We called the police and moved over to the side of the road. The whole time, I was very aware of my example, due in large part to the sermon Gary preached on Sunday (a GREAT sermon, which you can download here). In fact, I found it surprisingly easy to maintain a calm attitude even when the Camry-driver’s semi-belligerent husband showed up on the scene. He calmed down quickly and everything was fine. I even thought about inviting this couple to church. Not sure why I didn’t.

Fast forward one evening: I’m at church on Wednesday night. I was going up the stairs to my class and I was behind two elementary age girls, probably age 8 or 9 or thereabouts. One girl started walking kind of funny and waving her arms around and the other girl giggled really loudly. I just thought they were being silly with each other. Until I got to the platform in the stairwell. I looked up the second flight and noticed a little girl about halfway up, walking kind of awkwardly. She had a bit of a labored gait and she was holding the arm rail with one hand, her other arm raised, drawing attention to her lack of coordination. The other kids were blowing past her, running up the stairs two and three steps at a time. The girl in front of me started making the same motions again, flailing her arms and bowing up her legs, much to the delight of her giggly little friend. And I was instantly filled with indignation. Like, Elisha-calling-down-she-bears kind of stuff. I just wanted to lash out at these girls right there in front of everybody. I wanted to humiliate them the same way they were humiliating the little girl with the awkward walk. I wanted to march them straight to their parents and demand that they be grounded for months for laughing at the expense of this poor little girl who had no idea she was being made fun of. I took a personality test once and it said I have an innate thirst for justice. I’d have to say that’s true.

I guess, two months in, that’s a fitting way to describe where I find myself: somewhere between love and justice. I know love is not easily angered, but my thirst for justice is. I think I’ll always fight that tension. Who knows, maybe that’s a good thing. Or maybe not. We’ll see.

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6 Responses to Love Is Not Easily Angered…But What About Justice?

  1. Larry and Tina says:

    Jason, I think I would have had to say something to the two girls. I’m not sure that would have been the right thing to do, but it feels like they needed to know someone else was watching their actions. How do you do that in “love” and help them understand that everyone isn’t like them? Being the recipient of “being made fun of” throughout life, I think I will always struggle with this. Thanks for sharing and letting me know that I’m not the only one.Tina

  2. Trey and Bri Maharrey says:

    All I can say is that I am glad it was not me who witnessed that at church. I am not sure how I would have reacted??? It seems confusing because it feels as if you do not say something you have passed up a vital moment to be an example and if you do say something you run the risk of having a run in with the parent?? That makes me sad just thinking about being faced with that 😉 Definately something to think about as it happens every day unfortunately.Bri

  3. Keith Brenton says:

    I’m not sure what you say to to little girls in such a situation. Maybe “How do you think she would feel if she knew you were making fun of her? How would you feel? ” Or “How do you think Jesus feels about you doing that?” I can’t think of what to say when I’m angry, though. Good reason not to get angry, I guess!

  4. Jason says:

    Tina, it was incredibly tough not to say anything. But I figured I was just way too upset. Who knows, maybe I should’ve. Bri & Keith, I feel that tension. All I know is how I would’ve reacted if it’d been my child doing the mocking. And I know it shouldn’t matter, but we were at CHURCH, for goodness sake. You’d hope that would be the one place where stuff like that wouldn’t happen.

  5. Allen W. Jerkins says:

    Jason,Perhaps the key is in taking a fresh look at love and its relationship with justice. It’s easy to look at them in our human way and see them as opposites (much like we might say that the “New Testament God” is one of love, while the “Old Testament God” is one of wrath).

  6. Jason says:

    I agree, Allen. The command to speak the truth in love seems to embody that delicate balance between love and justice.

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