1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs not itself, is not puffed up,…
I. WHAT IS THAT SPIRIT TO WHICH CHRISTIAN LOVE IS THE OPPOSITE OF A WRATHFUL DISPOSITION? It is not all anger that Christianity is opposite to (Ephesians 4:26). Anger may be undue and unsuitable in respect to —
1. Its nature, i.e., when it contains ill-will, or a desire of revenge. We are required by Christ to pray for the prosperity even of our enemies (Matthew 5:44; Romans 12:14). And so revenge is forbidden (Leviticus 19:18; Romans 12:19; Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8).
2. Its occasion, i.e., when it is without any just cause (Matthew 5:22). And this may be the case —
(1) When there is no fault in its object. Many are of such a proud and peevish disposition, that they will be angry at anything that is troublesome, whether anybody be to blame for it or not. And it is a common thing for persons to be angry with others for their doing well, and that which is only their duty.
(2) When persons are angry upon small and trivial occasions. Some are of such a fretful spirit, that they are put out of humour by every little thing in the family, society, or business, that are no greater faults than they themselves are guilty of every day.
(3) When our spirits are stirred at the faults of others chiefly as they affect ourselves, and not as they are against God. We should never be angry but at sin.
3. Its end. When we are angry —
(1) Without considerately proposing any end to be gained by it.
(2) For any wrong end.
4. Its measure. When it is immoderate —
(1) In degree. Sometimes men's passions rise so high that they act as if beside themselves.
(2) In its continuance (Ecclesiastes 7:9; Ephesians 4:26). If a person allows himself long to hold anger towards another, he will quickly come to hate him.
II. HOW CHARITY IS CONTRARY TO IT.
1. It is directly, and in itself, contrary to all undue anger, for its nature is good-will.
2. All its fruits, as mentioned in the context, are contrary to it. It is contrary to —
(1) Pride, which is one chief cause of undue anger.
(2) To selfishness. Love, or charity, is contrary to anger. It is because men seek their own that they are malicious and revengeful.Conclusion: Consider how undue anger —
1. Destroys the comfort of him that indulges it.
2. Unfits persons for the duties of religion (Matthew 5:24).
3. The angry men are spoken of in the Bible as unfit for human society (Proverbs 22:24, 25; Proverbs 29:22).
Parallel VersesKJV: Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,