It Keeps No Record of Wrongs

 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

– I Corinthians 13:4-5

It has been a rainy week at the cottage

With strong storms last night and light showers this morning

I am astonished at how well the delicate stems of flowers endure the deluge

How well they weather the storm

And how quickly the sunlight dries up the water left behind

Some of it sucked down into the rich earth

To nourish the plants from their roots

The droplets of water glistening like diamonds

But most of it drying up quickly in the sunshine

That always follows the rain

It strikes me that keeping no record of wrongs

Is a bit like the way water droplets disappear after a rain shower

What we need, the lessons learned, goes into the soil of our hearts

While the rest just evaporates

If we try to hang on to the water

Closing ourselves up from the light of God’s forgiveness

We mold and start to stink

We weren’t meant to stay angry any more than a plant is meant to stay wet

Obsessing over the wrongs we have suffered

Becoming a victim

A slave to the bad things that have happened to us

No longer free

As a teacher

I keep lots of records

I record student grades

Making notes of behaviors

Weaknesses

And strengths

Doctors keep records

They record symptoms and ailments

Medications and surgeries

In much of life we keep records

Sometimes they are helpful things

They help me remember

Which antibiotic made me sick to my stomach

So I can take a different one next time

Help me see which students are struggling

And might need more support

But when it comes to wrongs

We are to keep no record

There are wrongs so egregious

That relationships end

The breach of trust so great

It would be unwise to trust that person again

Justifying their actions

There is no room for repentance or reconciliation

But we are still to forgive them

Always

To forgive utterly

The same way we have been forgiven utterly

To let go the desire for retribution

I will admit I have sometimes wished

That a harm done to me would be done to the perpetrator

If only they could feel what this FEELS like

They would have acted differently

But over time God has shown me

That forgiveness is not conditional

It does not depend on the other person realizing their fault

If it did, we would still be holding an awful lot of weight

And I have not really forgiven someone

Until I can wish them well

Albeit sometimes from a distance

I need to genuinely be able to pray God blesses them

Before I have truly forgiven them

But it isn’t just the wrongs others have done

It is mistakes I have made too

That haunt me

Becoming an unbearable weight

I replay the tape over and over again

Chastising myself for how I responded

Wishing I could unspeak words that were spoken

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

– 2 Corinthians 7:10

God calls us to repent

But he does not call us to replay

To live in the darkness of constant regret

The past cannot be changed

But Christ offers us a future regardless of our past

The enemy loves to whisper

“See, you can never change

You are too broken to fix.

You will always do that.

You will never lose the weight.

God doesn’t really have the power to change you.”

Don’t we realize when we keep a record of wrongs

Even our own wrongs

Already repented of and forgiven

That we are playing right into the enemy’s hands?

Does it ever actually HELP

When in the midst of an argument

You can accurately recall the last time your spouse did the same thing?

You may feel you have won the argument

But you have lost the war

Only making your partner angry and entrenched

And deep down perhaps even feeling hopeless

Disheartened

And even more weighed down than before

We are called to lighten each other’s loads

Not make them heavier

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

– Galatians 5:1

Set aside the list

Breathe in the pure air of Christ’s forgiveness

Let go of the past

For love keeps no record of wrongs

It is time, Christian,

To tear up your list

To allow the holy light of God’s forgiveness

To dry our tears and evaporate our need for revenge

Let it go

In that, there is such freedom

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