1 Cor 13 God is love –- Love does not keep a record of wrongs
It is difficult to forget being wronged. When a person harms you in anyway the natural inclination is to make note of it, remove trust from that relationship and protect yourself against future attacks.
This is true in individual relationships, international politics, sports, war; and that list could go on and on. But Paul writes in the First letter to the Corinthians, verse 5, “Love does not keep a record of wrongs”. This highlights more than most of the other descriptors that the kind of love being talked about is not human in origin. Keeping records of wrong is a necessary tactic for survival. Whole courses in war college are devoted to wins, losses and learnings of war.
This is an interesting insight into the idea of forgiveness. In order to forgive someone, I have to intentionally let the issue go. It is an intentional act to forgive. You can forget accidentally but you have to forgive intentionally. To keep a record of wrongs I also need to work at it. The incident must be brought back to mind. If you tell someone else, all the better, because then you can spread the joy. Each retelling helps me remember and relive the experience and cement it in my mind. If I can actually relive it, I can get the same stress hormones worked up to. (yes, you can stress yourself out.)
Forgiveness, or not keeping a record of wrongs, is not the same as reinstalling this person in trusted friend mode. It may be a step on the way there, but it is not the same. It is letting the incident go in a real sense. If the person who hurt you is a close friend or family member and you want the relationship to be restored, you have to give back trust. Love requires trust and forgiveness in our broken world.
Why are you keeping a record of wrongs? What are you going to do with that file you have in your brain, or even in your desk? Is it your “ace” in the whole so you can attack when the time is right? Do you whip out this list with your friend or your spouse when they add another item to it? How is that working out?
I admit that not keeping a record of wrongs is next level human behavior but that is what selfless love is all about. Living a selfless life, where you attempt to love like this is a step, we are only capable of when we have reckoned with our own messiness.
But the great thing about coming to the oh so true picture that we are messed up and sinful is that God loved that guy enough to die for him. The power of loving like this is realizing that you are loved like this.
As we have been noticing, God is love and God therefore does not keep any record of wrongs. The Bible is all about His attempts to get humans to accept a plan where He takes responsibility for our brokenness and pays the wages of sin. The blessing and the goal are to love as we are loved.
The Bible says that God casts the sins that we bring to Him into the depths of the sea and chooses to remember them no more.
You are loved like that. Go and do likewise.
1 Corinthians 13:4-5 – Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.