“Love is not rude. Love does not insist on its own way. Love is not irritable.” – I Corinthians 13:5
Grumpiness. I hate the feeling. I hate how being grumpy hurts my wife’s feelings. I hate how being grumpy makes me sharp towards others. I hate how being grumpy makes the day seem longer. It seems that on days I am grumpy my memory of the bed I wake from is all I look forward to. Grumpy days are days I want to just end.
The word for “irritable” in this verse means to be provoked. Meaning, love does not respond to provocation with grumpiness, rudeness, and demanding our own way. God is love (I John 4:8), and the desire of the follower of Jesus is to be like God. God is long-suffering; His fuse is long. Not mine. My fuse is short. I get grumpy because I insist on my own way, and I harbor prideful rudeness in my heart when I don’t get my way. When I get tired, or feeling bad, or I’m in a hurry, or I’d rather be doing something else, and I don’t get my way, I get grumpy and rude.
To fight for joy, we must first be reminded that rudeness and grumpiness is unlovingness that is rooted in prideful sin. Confess your bitter attitude and grumpiness as pride, insisting your own way, as a sin before God. We must ask ourselves what is “our own way” that we are demanding that is making us rude, negative, and grumpy, even if we must stop in the middle of a sentence and take a breather to do it. We must ask what is the way of love found in the Bible? We must repent and walk in the Spirit and bear fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). Do I trust that God has the power to deliver me from being grumpy and rude and more like Jesus?
God will finish the good work He began in us (Philippians 1:6), and He is at work in those days when we are grumpy and demand our own way. We must lay aside that selfishness and be a people known by God’s love, a love that is not rude, insisting our own way, and grumpy. Seek the Savior to deliver you from these bonds, knowing the gradual but glorious work to lay aside grumpiness for love is a fight for joy.
Heavenly Father, we confess our pride, wanting our way rather than Your way, wanting our way rather than to love. Forgive us, and through Jesus reconcile us to Yourself and to others we may have harmed in our selfish rudeness and grumpiness. We are clay in the Potter’s hands. Mold us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.