“Love … doesn’t fly off the handle”.

1 Cor 13:5 EHP

We sometimes say, when we have had to deal with an unusual kind of person, maybe someone who has annoyed us, “Oh well, I suppose it takes all sorts to make a world!”

There were “all sorts” in Paul’s congregation in Corinth. And there is no doubt, reading between the lines of his two letters to them, that they gave him a hard time. It is not unusual for that kind of relationship to happen today. One of the most difficult situations for any Christian leader to manage is that one where there is a member (or worse a leader) who gets angry quickly. Eugene Peterson’s translation “fly off the handle” describes it perfectly. There are people who fly off the handle. And even worse there are people who deliberately “stoke the fire” in order to provoke someone they know will not take much goading to do just that.

Paul is clear. However calm others may remain when someone’s anger is roused, it isn’t a feature of Christian love to be hot-tempered. In fact, those who do “fly off the handle” make trouble by doing so. If not every time, then frequently. In secular situations it can be disturbing. In Christian circles it is bad news indeed.

If it is your problem, think long and hard about yourself and the trouble you will have caused. Reflect on the fact that you will have caused hurt to some other people. Consider too the bad image that your behaviour will have created for the Christian church and for Jesus Christ. You may have caused others outside the Christian fold to sneer at the gospel. Stop it. Be more thoughtful and control yourself.


Lord, help me to keep my temper in check.