I had this thought the other day as I was reading 1 Corinthians 13… What would the world be like if people and nations were unoffendable? What would our communities, neighborhoods, and families look like if we were not so easily provoked to anger?
I can imagine that there would be a significant decrease in the amount of war, distress, depression, disappointment, dysfunction, dislocation, and discombobulation in the world today if it were actually difficult to be offended. I can further imagine that in place of these things there would be a significant increase in the amount of love, peace, harmony, and unity in the societies of the world.
You might be tempted to believe that this kind of pie-in-the-sky, wishful thinking for utopia is beyond our reach, but is it really?
In describing the word “love” in 1 Corinthians 13 the apostle Paul gives us hope that such a world is possible if we would love each other the way God loves each of us. In describing what love is, Paul is really describing what God is like since the scriptures teach that God is love (1John 4:8, 16).
So what is God’s love like? It is first and foremost both patient and kind (v.4), which are also both a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). God’s love is further described by what it’s not – it’s not envious, boastful, proud, rude, self-seeking, easily provoked to anger, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love takes no delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. Love never fails.
God is relentless in his love for mankind. He pursues humanity and individuals with an intensity that boggles the mind. And though our sinful behavior may present roadblocks to the outworking of his love in our lives it does not detour him from loving us.
Consider a child who doesn’t want to eat the food you’ve put in front of him for his own good but defiantly throws it on the floor. How would you respond to such a child? In your anger you might be tempted to lose patience and self-control and align yourself against the child in full battle array, armed with riot gear, tear gas, and a fully charged stun gun. But if you were unoffendable like God my guess is that you would exhibit extravagant patience and kindness while lovingly trying to correct the behavior of the child without destroying his or her spirit.
What would the world be like today if, like God, it was extremely difficult to provoke us to anger? It may not warrant utopia status but it would definitely be a more peaceful place to live.