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. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Cor. 13:4-7
Love Isn’t Keeping A Record of Wrongs
At a certain point in our childhood some adult told us that we had reached a point in our maturity that stuff we did wrong was going to go in our “permanent record.”
Now when I was growing up (way pre-internet), that meant someone writing something down on a piece of paper in a file folder with your name on it somewhere.
“Julie passed notes.”
“Julie left campus to go to McDonald’s.”
(I’ll stop here in case my mom is reading).
You can visualize at some point someone loses that record and all of those childhood and young-adult mess-ups. Maybe the file folder of your transgression in junior high is sitting in a cardboard box in a storage center awaitng shredding.
Now, in the age of Facebook and Instagram and everyone recording and sharing everything, a “permanent record” is truly going to be more permanent. Even if you try and delete every reference to yourself from the internet, you’d probably not succeed. Even if you did, then you’d have to think about government electronic records of you, your electronic medical record, your banking history and your credit history. (And the list could continue, but you get the idea!). And there seems to be endless space somewhere in “the cloud” to store it all.
Think about another kind of cloud.
The cloud that we traditionally associate with where God resides. Think about HIS cloud and all of the expanse of space that is there. Think that He has seen everything from the beginning of time. Think that he has seen all of the death, the war, the violence and cruelty.
Focus for a second on what He’s seen you do in your lifetime. All of the “good” and “bad.” And he never runs out of memory space.
Sometimes cartoons depict people at the “Pearly Gates” and St. Peter is checking a list…and we often imagine that list is the “permanent record” of our life and that somehow all of our deeds are recorded there. I always imagined myself showing up and my good deeds hopefully fill a reasonably-sized spiral notebook, but my sins require many volumes. Endless volumes. Racks upon racks of servers.
But that’s not how God is.
When we accept Christ into our lives and believe that He died for our sins, God erased the sin record with His son’s blood. It’s gone. And it’s not backed up on a stray forgotten flash drive. It’s erased. It’s like God has amnesia.
Love Often Requires Liberal Doses of Amnesia.
You have tapes in your head of moments where others have hurt you. Emotionally, spiritually, physically or financially. Some transgressions are minor, others may be unspeakably horrible. How much of your time do you spend replaying these tapes? Are the images on them fading each time they are played? Do you play them less and less? Do you LIKE playing them for some reason? And when you play the tapes, do you remind the other people in the tapes of their roles in hurting you? Do they now know the tapes as well as you do?
What would it take for you today to simply erase the tapes?
Or “delete” the document?
Or “purge” the files.
Think of all the storage space that would be free in your heart and your spirit that you could then fill with LOVE for God, for yourself and for others. Even the players in the tapes.
You ask, “Well am I just supposed to ‘pretend’ it didn’t happen?”
You don’t have to pretend.
You can just give it to God to carry away and let Him dispose of it. It may fade quickly or it may take years and help from others.
But ask God to help your forget and fill the space of recorded wrongs with God’s love for you.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12
All the best in 2013!