Continuing through 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (here is a fresh review since I have not shared the verse, itself, in a while.
“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
What does it mean to keep a record of wrongs? Why wouldn’t love do that? How would it effect ones relationship if they were keeping a record of wrongs?
Keeping a record of wrongs is, basically, keeping track mentally of the things others have done to wrong us. “I’ll forgive them, but I’ll never forget what they did,” (not true forgiveness by the way) is an example of the heart attitude here. When a wrong is committed, and a person repents, we need to stop holding it against them. Have you ever been in a disagreement with someone and had a past issue re-emerge? This could have been you bringing it up to the other person, or the other person still holding it against you. This issue probably had been resolved a while ago, or at least you thought it had been. How did it re-emerge?
Often, we decide not to forget wrongs because it is more comforting to hold on to them and remind ourselves that others aren’t perfect. To remind ourselves that others mess up just as much as we do, and to give ourselves justification during our times of frustration with loved ones.
We remember to teach ourselves to handle situations differently in the future, but the problem comes when we hang on to negative feelings against our relations even though they have already made things right.
Every person changes over time. If we continue to hold on to wrongs we will be continuously punishing people for character that may have been purged out long ago. We are holding on to what they used to be like, not what they are. We would not want another to do this to us, so why do we choose to hold wrongs over another for so long?
“Some people are never truly sorry, and do not repent of their wrong doing,” you may say. “I should not have to forgive these people. Alas, many do not ever repent of their wrongdoing. We should still forgive. Learn lessons but do let go of resentments, and allow your heart to get over the ill will you hold. Jesus, himself, when peter asked,
answered him, saying,
You see, Peter though that he was being generous when he offered to forgive seven times for the same offense. Jesus, however, taught differently. Most biblical scholars agree that when he gave the answer seventy times seven, he was no specifically stating that the most you should forgive someone is 490 times, but that you should not stop forgiving them. “Take that number and multiply it by seventy, Peter,” it could be rephrased. Basically, he was saying “your idea of generous forgiveness is not nearly enough.”
If this is not enough motivation to let go of the wrongs we are mentally recording, consider that Jesus also directed, “14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” -Matthew 6:14-15
Paul also told the Corinthian church that envying, strife, and divisions are signs of carnality, and directed that those mature in their faith should not practice such things. “3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” 1 Corinthians 3:3
Let us choose, today, to forgive. Let us let go of the chains of unforgiveness for past wrongs. Let us give others a clean slate as we would hope would be done for us. To do anything else will destroy relationship, and hinder our growth in God.