1 Corinthians 13:5 (LEB): 5 it does not behave dishonorably, it ⌊is not selfish⌋, it does not become angry, it does not keep a record of wrongs…
The word “Love” is used in a variety of ways. “I love my family, I love fried chicken, I love sports, I love my church”, but I read a poem by Helen Steiner Rice that captured my attention when she described a Mother’s love!
“A Mother’s love is something that no one can explain,It is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice and pain,It is endless and unselfish and enduring come what may for nothing can destroy it or take that love away…
It is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking,And it never fails or falters even though the heart is breaking…It believes beyond believing when the world around condemns,And it glows with all the beauty of the rarest, brightest gems…
It is far beyond defining, it defies all explanation,and it still remains a secret like the mysteries of creation…A many-splendored miracle man cannot understandAnd another wondrous evidence of God’s tender guiding hand.”
I believe that’s the kind of love the Apostle Paul had in mind when he put ink to parchment and sent his correspondence to the Corinthian church.
In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul writes to the church, and tells them with all of their giftedness, if they don’t have love, everything comes to nothing. The gift of languages and eloquence is just a loud noise. The gifts of prophecy, of knowledge, of mountain shaking faith—all of these are nothing without the presence of love. And Paul says that if you give all your money to the homeless shelter, but you don’t have love, you gain nothing at the judgment seat of Christ. In fact, if you die a martyr’s death—if you give yourself to the flame—and don’t have love, you gain nothing on that day when you stand before God!
Much like Helen Rice’s description, Paul spells out what love should look like: Love is patient and it’s kind. Love does not envy, does not boast, and is not proud—Love has good manners. Love does not take advantage of people. It’s not irritable— Love thinks no evil: And lastly, “Love keeps no record of wrongs,” in other words…
Love Forgives. Paul uses an accountant’s word— Logizomai (one Greek NT word for our English, “keeps no record”); this is when a bookkeeper marks a credit or debit into the accounting book, he’s keeping account of it in order to make sure a receipt is paid or a deposit is made. So when Paul says, “Love keeps no record of wrongs,” he means that when evil is done to you, you don’t keep it in your books—you don’t store it in your memory for future reference. You intentionally choose to forgive!
For Christians who love… forgiveness is a lifestyle
In Matthew 18, Simon-Peter asks Jesus, if offering forgiveness to someone up to seven times is sufficient — but Jesus gives an astronomical figure; seventy times seven. Jesus then proceeds to tell Peter the story about a king who was settling his financial accounts with his servants. There was one particular servant, who owed the king—the text said 10,000 talents. So the king ordered that the servant, his wife, and children be sold into slavery—and the servant pleaded for mercy begging the king to be patient. The text went on to say the king was compassionate—he released the servant and dismissed his debt. But the story doesn’t stop there. The same servant goes out and finds a fellow servant, who owed him 100 silver coins, and he bodily threatens his fellow servant to pay his debt. When the fellow servant begs for mercy and patience, the forgiven-servant doesn’t show him mercy, but rather has the man thrown into jail! As the story went, the king found out what the servant had done to that man—and the text says the king had the forgiven-servant put in prison and tortured until he repaid all that he owed.
Here’s the point of the story
God as the king in this story forgave the servant—which is you and I. So we should forgive others, if we want God to forgive us!
Keep no records of wrong.
Please consider—in your lifetime you’ll have lots of opportunities for people to do you wrong, and treat you bad. We live in a fallen world—we live in the midst of a depraved society! “And check this out!” You’re depraved; the person next to you is depraved. And people, including Christians, do all kinds of strange and terrible things! People will lie to you. People you trusted will gossip about you and the gossip might not even be true—but it spreads like a poison to others around you, and you can’t stop it!
People close to you might interfere in your marriage or other close relationships. By the way, even people close to you might say something in anger that cuts so deep it seems the wound will never heal! All of us have opportunities to either nurture hurt and hatred or extend love and forgiveness. Often we may feign as though we’ve forgiven, but “forgotten” won’t let it go!
Maybe you know of someone who might appear “to bury the hatchet, but always marks where that hatchet is buried.” Jay Adams, a Christian counselor, said that a couple once came to him because the wife was having trouble with her mother-in-law. When the wife sat down, Dr Adams said, “What is it that she has done that disturbs you?” The woman pulled out a sheet of paper where line upon line she had written down every supposed offense her mother-in-law had ever done. She’d obviously gone over it again and again. She was keeping an account of the supposed wrong to her.
True Love teaches us to forgive and we must learn to let it go!