1 Corinthians 13:1-3  If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy  and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

     What is a man without love?  He is selfish.  Selfishness can masquerade in religious vestments as easily as secular ‘garb’. Paul is telling us that tongues, prophecy, knowledge, good works and mountain moving power don’t add up to a ‘hill of beans’ without love.   Love makes the meaning; without it there is nothing but empty gestures.  The outer apparel of religiosity can dupe vulnerable people who may need love so much they will even accept a cruel parody of it out of desperation.

     In a world of pretence and masquerade it is important to be able to spot real love.  Often people will say they love you.  But what does this mean? Sometimes those who make these claims act in ways that demonstrate otherwise.  The Bible tells us; “. . . for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”  (2 Corinthians 11:14,15)

      What does love look like? The Bible tells us; “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Use this scripture as  a checklist. You can evaluate any person who says they love by their actions not their words.

     Some attempt to justify their anger and rage by saying that Jesus was an angry man too.   Yes, Scripture tells us that Jesus got angry at the money changers who were disrespectful of God’s house (Matthew 21:12,13). Yes, Jesus got frustrated with His disciples (Matthew 15:10-20), the self-righteousness of the Pharisees (Matthew 15:1-9) and lack of fruitfulness (Mark 11:12-14).  Jesus being fully human did get angry but He was not an ‘angry man’.  His ministry to those He served was characterized by compassion. He would pass the ‘love’ checklist as laid out in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

     To justify anger and rage towards others, especially by those who claim to serve out of love, by ascribing a negative characteristic to Jesus on the basis of Scripture that shows the full range of His humanity, is twisting Scripture. Anger is an emotion.  It is what we do with our anger not the anger that defines us.  God judges us not by the emotions our hearts’ may struggle with but by our actions; “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10)

     The Bible tells us; “Be angry, and do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26) We are told; “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”  (Ephesians 4:30-32)  Righteous anger is always tempered by the discipline of the Holy Spirit.

     Jesus commands us; “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”  (Matthew 5:44)  Does this sound like it is coming from an ‘angry man’? Rage and uncontrolled anger are not of the Holy Spirit; “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-2)  You are what you do not what you say!

     The outcome or fruit of our lives demonstrate the character behind our actions and conduct.  Scripture tells us where true love comes from; “. . .the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:22-24)  You now have checklists to evaluate any outcome or action and determine whether it is of the Holy Spirit or of carnal flesh.

     Use God’s Word to guide you and don’t fall victim to  any puffed up angry person seeking to justify his or her actions.  Jesus warns us; “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15,16)

     Praise the Lord!