Love Keeps no Record of Wrongs!
General Idea: When God tells us that love keeps no record of wrongs, He means we do not go around with a list, writing down the faults of one another. Rather, we are to look for the positive things that happen in our relationships, and to affirm others. We are to seek reconciliation and forgiveness, never strife or dissention. We should not go around with a negative attitude, but rather with one that is positive, enthusiastic, and equipping to God's people. We are not to keep track of the mistreatments we may receive from friends or our spouse. Because God loves us so much, He does not keep a scorecard of our sins as long as we honestly repent of them. We do not need to reflect negatively or gossip about the flaws of other people in order to elevate ourselves. God refuses to do that to us. Love lets things such as resentment and anger go, so they do not build up and destroy us and our relationships.
Authentic Love is not resentful and does not keep a scorecard!
Contexts and Background:
This passage also points us to the fact that it is God's power of love that is to lead us--personally, as a church community, and as a family¾not our ways or trends or fears or hurts. The essential framework upon which to build a healthy home or church is to understand what our prime purpose is, and that is to glorify Christ, not to please our comforts or ideas. We do this when we love so we can shine before Him by holding and applying His vital truth. We will shine for the Lord, making Him known in a dark world! We can't do that in the self-made prison constructed with the bricks of our past and fears or the bars of our hurts and insecurity or the locks made from of our pride that will not let things go.
Commentary-Word and Phrase Meanings:
· Love is/Charity. Love that is real is a fruit that is also made from our faith. Real love shows our authenticity and trust in our Lord, which allows us to serve and to remain steady and secure. True Love comes from our true living faith that God gives and builds. This is synergized along with our struggles in love and life. Here, that love is a warning against negating our duty or neglecting what God gives. If we refuse to allow His love to work in us, then our faith and the future He has for us will not be received or achieved. If we leave the love in our own will and distresses, we limit our sanctification and cut ourselves off from having God further use us as examples of redemption, examples of His Love. Remember; we do have a great reward that awaits us for being faithful, so we need not fear to fail or reject His guidance or the fellowship of others (Mark 12:28-31; John 3:16, Matt. 22:34-40; John 3:16; 13:1, 34-35; 14:1; 15:9; Rom. 1:31; 5:10; 12:10; 1 Cor. 13; Eph. 2:4-7; Phil. 2:2; Col. 1:1-6; 3:12-14; 1 Thess. 1:3; 2:8; 3:6; 12; 4:9-10; 5:8; 13; 2 Tim. 3:3; Heb. 10:24; 1 John 4:7-12).
· Love keeps no record of wrongs/thinketh no evil/does not take into account a wrong suffered/Doesn't keep score of the sins of others/takes no account of the evil done to it, pays no attention to a suffered wrong/is not resentful/doesn't keep a record of wrongs that others do/thinks no evil/Love does not count up wrongs that have been done/does not impute evil/Love holds no wrong feelings in the heart. When bad things happen, when people do us wrong, we are to see it as our Lord does and deal with it as He did. We have to see the big picture of Christ and His work in us and in others' lives as well as we all intertwine in one another's lives and sin. It is out of our mistakes and sin as well as the sin from others that will cause our pain, hurt, and resentment. To stop the escalation, there is only one thing to do. We are called not to record it, not to harbor it, not to dwell on it, not to hold on to it, and not to even give it notice! Why? It would be like deciding to hold on to a poisonous snake after it bit you because you are mad that it bit you. All this will accomplish is getting more bites until you die in agony. Our blame, pain, and resentments will spiral into animosity and build into bitterness, until our relationships are destroyed and we are cast into isolation and further stifle, unless we do not harbor it. If we can avoid being resentful, really forgive, and not hold on to what and who has hurt us, we can then move on (Psalm 32; Matt 18:21-35; Mark 11:25; John 13:34-35; Eph. 4:29-32; Col. 3:12-14; Heb. 13:21-21).
· This love is a form of forgiveness, as our Lord calls us to operate in the parameters of forgiveness, which is also a Fruit of the Spirit and a key aspect of love and mercy. If we refuse to forgive, we will have a life of chaos because we will have instead a heart filled with suffering and torment. How can we receive Christ's forgiveness and claim Christ as our Savior when we are unable to forgive one another? When we have a forgiving attitude, then we will have a heart at rest and in peace! Real love endures when we remain faithful and keep our trust in Christ no matter what comes our way in sufferings or temptations or what people have done to us. This is not a call to be abused or hang in impossible situations; rather, it is a focusing point. We are to focus on Christ and His Way, even in persecution and stress.
· Forgiveness is the only tool we have that can stop the resentment that causes the breakdown of our relationships and contentment. This is why we are called to do this love. This is why our Lord calls us to forgive. If you have been hurt, or you have hurt others-and we all have-open your eyes and realize that it is the call of the Christian to dispel these conflicts. Without forgiveness, our growth and maturity with Christ and our integrity with others cannot be built.
· This love is a form of self-control that allows God to be in control of our will and heart, and seeks the Spirit to enable us. Then we will know what not to do and guard the areas in which we are weak. This will allow us to have discipline and restraint with obedience to God and others. We will refuse to let distractions derail or remove us from His will and plan so we will not be held back from what Christ called us to do (Prov. 16:32; 25:28; Rom 13:12-14; I Cor. 6:12; 9:25-27; 1Thess. 5: 22; Titus 2:12; Heb. 12:2; 2 Pet. 1:5-7).
· This love is also a form of perseverance as having confidence in God so we trust Him in difficult situations and still see His grace and love. We can do this by being encouraging with Christ-like temperament (2 Chron. 32:1-8; Esther 7; Luke 16:22-31; 18:9; Acts 19:8-10; 26:19-23; Rom. 15:14-16; Phil. 1:6; 12-14, 25; 2 Tim. 2:25).
Devotional Thoughts and Applications:
The sacrifice that pleases God is our obedience and trust in Him, not the resentment we feel or the hurts we harbor. We can't just see ourselves in life; we are called to see others too. When we allow our hurt to hurt others, we are no better than the person who hurt us in the first place. Even Christians can sometimes forget that it was Christ who suffered and paid our debt of sin so we can all live in Him. Thus, life is not all about "me;" it is all about Him. It was Christ who shed His blood for our forgiveness and when we harbor resentments, we not only forget forgiveness, we do the opposite of what Christ did for us. We must be forgiving so we can be an offering of praise. The sacrifice of our hurts and pain that were done to us are no comparison to what He bore for us. Therefore, we can give our hurt and torn will over to Him so we can forgive and live our lives lovingly, thus pleasing God. We can even model Christ's forgiveness, for our real home is not of this world; it is in eternity. With Christ, we can succeed in receiving from what has hurt us and move forward in renewal and transformation; in so doing, we share His cause and Kingdom and do the good he called us to do.
If we continue to be fueled and filled with ingratitude, refusing to let go of our resentment and respond to what Christ has done for us, we will live very unhappy lives. That hurt and pain will keep replaying in our hearts and minds, and we will be in a time loop, living in the past drama of trauma when we could just jump out of it in Christ. This will produce in us a very unhealthy attitude and a life that is not Spirit-led or Christ-directed. We will not understand or grasp what we have or could have, because we are too focused on our past or too fearful of what lies ahead. When we keep count of our wrongs, we get off focus and fuel our "entitlement" mentality that says we deserve something, and humility and servitude are missing. It will craft for us a life of disappointments that lead to our dysfunction. This can happen to a Christian who does little to nothing with his or her faith and remains in the ways of the world, or someone who refuses to grow and respond to God. This places a barrier to seeing the great, incompressible gift of grace we have received, and then refusing, or forgetting, to respond to Christ as our LORD. When we refuse to be partakers of gratefulness, the waywardness of our sinful ingratitude will rise up and continue to fester and build and eventually take control of who we are and what we do, even as Christians.
The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive Bible Study):
1. What does this passage say?
2. What does this passage mean?
3. What is God telling me?
4. How am I encouraged and strengthened?
5. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
6. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?
7. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?
8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
9. What can I model and teach?
10. What does God want me to share with someone?
Read these two passages again in different translations (1 Corinthians 13:1-8; 1 John 4: 7-12)
1. Discuss your thoughts on this aspect of love.
2. Give a positive example.
3. Give a negative example.
4. How is this type of love working in you?
5. Why is this love not working in you?
6. What blocks this love from being exhibited in you?
7. What would it take to get this love working in you?
8. What are you willing to do about it?
1. Why does real love not keep score?
2. Have you ever kept track of the faults of others? How did that make you feel? How did that work for you? How does forgiveness make you feel?
3. How do you handle forgiveness? How do you respond when others forgive you? What do you do with opportunities that our Lord has for you?
4. How does reconciliation and forgiveness improve your joy in life? What does strife or dissention do to your joy?
5. What happens when you go around with resentment or a negative attitude? What does it take for you to have a positive attitude?
6. What would Christianity and faith be like if God kept a scorecard of our sins? Why does God allow us to honestly repent? How does this relate to how you are to treat people?
7. Why is it that love can't just mean anything or it would be worthless?
8. Why would a Christian want to wallow in their troubles, blaming everyone else and not take responsibility? Why would one not want to forgive, move on with life, and be more joyful and content?
9. What can you do to look for the positive things that happen in your relationships? How would this help you affirm others? Who will you start with?
10. What can you do to prevent yourself from building up resentment and anger? How can you let these things go so they do not build up and destroy you and your relationships?
© 2009, R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org/