Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

22 Love is Part 7

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1 Corinthians 13:5-6 “Love keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice”

The Fourth and final pair of negative love killers are:

  • Keeping Score

The word that is used here is a bookkeeping term that means “to count up and to take account of,” as in a banking ledger. The thought that Paul is conveying is the recording to keeping score and even the desire to settle those accounts. Paul talks about how we deal with wrongs and one of the destructive issues that arises from this is a suspicious heart. A suspicious person has a negative effect on situations and people that they are suspicious of and involved with. Most of the people who have influenced me to change over the years have been people who believed in me. In an atmosphere of suspicion people often die but in an atmosphere of trusting they expand and find the encouragement to change. Paul say that Love does not attribute evil motives or suspicions to others for that is conviction without evidence and only God can judge the heart. Paul’s prohibition is not just against suspecting evil of others but it also concerns evil actually done to us by others. In these situations of personally being wronged self wants to record each wrong in living detail, even assigning a fine and sentence to each wrong. The Savior however wants us to forgive because, He has forgiven us, because bitterness creates bondage, and because we are going to need more forgiveness from Him in the future. The Lord’s Prayer says, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” Real love will not hold bitter grudges or allow long standing resentments against others, even when the wrongs done against us feel spiteful. In my life there have been three steps in the process of forgiveness that have freed me from the prison of pain time and time again.

  1. Relinquish my right to get even.

Paul wrote in Romans 12:19 “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.”

We buy into the lie that we can hurt other people with our resentment when we try to get even. The truth is that hurt doesn’t bring healing until its placed in God’s hand and hurt people hurt themselves and others.

  1. Respond to evil with good.

In Luke 6:27-28 we are commanded to “Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” The truth of God’s Word is what sets us free and God reminds us that we do have a choice as to how we will respond. We do not have to let the hurt herd us down the path of pain where we become programmed to respond to the poison.  Romans 12:21 tells us “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” How we respond to hurt is a reflection of obedience and trust in His Word.  Sometimes we can’t prevent the snake bite but we can always participate and be proactive in the administration of anti-venom. When we respond to evil with evil we are choosing not to suck out the poison but to let is coarse through our veins hoping that the snake dies.

  1. Repeat the process.

Remember the discussion Jesus had with Peter in Matthew 18:21? “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times? No not seven times, Jesus replied, but seventy times seven.” Here is the hard part of love, instead of entering evil as a debt in its accounting books it voluntarily passes the eraser over what it endures. Love forgives and removes the record of accountability for the offense. We don’t need to keep record of wrongs to protect ourselves when we are confident that God is in control of the outcome, and when we know that He is looking after our needs. What if instead of making a list of others mistakes against us we listed the number of times God has forgiven us. I know that I deserve to be punished but instead He took it for me, there are no lashes on my back or shackles on my feet. God is not keeping a list of my wrongs in fact the only thing that is written in His book is my name. I have been immersed in grace and submerged in mercy and true love longs to share the miracle of mercy and the gift of grace.

  • Injustice

Injustice or unrighteousness is anything that does not conform to the standard of the right which is God’s just standard. Injustice denies truth, and all immorality is rooted in the process of self-deception where wrong behavior becomes the product of a misbelief about reality. Love does not get its kicks out of unrighteousness yet today too many Christians are entertained by programs that elevate wickedness. Like ancient Rome we satisfy and justify our desire for unrighteousness by calling in  entertainment, yet is God pleased with His people when we are entertained by watching people being beaten, stabbed, raped, hated and abused. Love experiences no joy in seeing the faults or failings and falling into sin, even when those flailing feel like the enemy. Love mourns over sin, it weeps regardless of whose injustice is revealed.  Love does not pass along a juicy morsel of someone else’s failures just because it tastes good to do so. Breaking the news of sin is for the good of others not to promote a “feeding frenzy” around others embarrassment and pain. What are you recording and rejoicing over? Is it time to repent and receive forgiveness, is it time to release the hurt and stop recording the pain? Today we have a choice to embrace His Word or our wounds, what will you choose?

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