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Blog: Lee Younger

What is Love? - Long Fused

CCC Oak Ridge

Welcome to a new series here on the blog! The idea is simple. In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul says that there is only one stat that ultimately matters in your walk with God - one thing that that truly tells the world who you are, and that is your love (or lack thereof). The real question is, how do I grow in love? What does love look like? What does love do, and what does it not do? What is love?

Well, not only does Paul say that love is the most important thing about me, he also goes on to break it down by defining love in a series of amazing words. Hence, these posts. Here we go!

Love Has A Long Fuse

Paul says love is patient. But of course you know that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians in the Greek language, and the word he wrote (which we have translated ‘patient’) was a combination of the two Greek words for ‘long’ and ‘heat.’ Literally, he was saying that love doesn’t have a short fuse. People who rock at love don’t blow up and go off on each other. Another way to express this would be to say that love isn’t filled with drama.

Now, we don’t naturally like that particular definition, because we think love is passionate, and drama is also passionate, but let’s be clear: Passion is not the same thing as unbridled anger. Drama like that isn’t sexy. It’s mainly mean. Real love doesn’t blow up or go off. Real love has a long fuse. Real love can wait and listen with a calm and merciful heart without exploding.

And that is the key: Mercy. You see, that word Paul used for ‘patient’ is also used over in Matthew 18 when Jesus told a story about a man who owed his master money... and I mean, hundreds of thousands of dollars. He couldn’t pay it back and the master ordered  him and his family to be sold in order to pay the debt. This poor guy begged his master to be patient with him, and the master mercifully forgave the debt. The only problem was, that the same guy then went out and found someone who owed him a few hundred bucks and violently demanded payment. This brother also begged for patience, but no mercy was given. The master found out and punished the unmerciful servant.

You see, when my heart is filled with explosive anger, it’s because way down deep, I want to be the boss. I want to hold the power. I want the keys to the kingdom, like a rent-a-cop at a basketball game who makes everyone stand behind the yellow line for no apparent reason. I don’t have any real  power, but I want to feel like I do. When I refuse to be patient, I am letting the power go to my head just like that rent-a-cop.

There are going to be people in your life who drive you crazy and make you outrageously upset. They need your love. The people in your life are begging you to show them mercy. They need you to be understanding. They need you to have a long fuse - to put up with them - to bear with them. That’s the way Jesus treated us. Love doesn’t blow up. It has a long fuse. Your understanding of the mercy you received should change the way you give mercy. It’s the most important thing about you.