Love is not be “provoked” (3947)? What does that mean? On the surface it is obvious and we don’t want to ignore the obvious. Love does not allow itself to be poked and prodded into a response of anger and hostility. I guess you could consider it a combination of patience and kindness. It is the application of turning the other cheek.
I understand that. What I am struggling with is the repeated, day after day provocations that seem to never stop.
One question I have is, to quote David in the Psalms, “How long, O Lord?” Or to ask the question that Peter asked,
(Matthew 18:21 KJV) Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?And of course Jesus gives us an answer,
(Matthew 18:22 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.So it would seem that we are to keep on taking it on the chin, getting up again, smiling and going out to get hit again. I am not satisfied with that.
First, it is the easy way instead of the loving way. In Philippians Paul said,
(Philippians 2:3-4 KJV) Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.After consulting other translations let me offer the Pumice Pathetic Paraphrase of verse 4
(Philippians 2:4 PPP) “You have a responsibility to do what is best for the other person, even when they don’t like it.”Love is concerned with the other person. When they are constantly practicing anti-social behavior it is not loving to grin and bear it. We have the Biblical mandate to rebuke, reprove and correct.
So where does this leave us? I think it might come down to the difference between reacting and responding. Reacting is what we are warned against. Someone pushes, we push back. Someone attacks, we counter-attack. Responding is a measured and thought out response. It is not an angry retort but a careful statement of love. One destroys. One edifies.
The Highway of Holiness is not for the timid or the lazy.
To be continued...
homo unius libri