“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.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
Last week, I shared about the first two characteristics of love cited by Paul: patience and kindness.
As Paul continues to teach the church about godly love, he tells us what love is not. Perhaps Paul is being a “Captain Obvious” at this point. Don’t we already know that true love is not proud or self-seeking? We probably know it, but do we live it out, day after day?
We can easily gloss over the parts of the Bible that we think we already “know” or which may seem obvious to us on the surface, but I don’t think God would have inspired these words unless we needed to hear and apply them.
Love is much more than words and feelings. “I love you” doesn’t have the same ring when spoken by someone who is envious or easily angered. That’s what Paul was saying in verse one of the chapter when he wrote that even if we could eloquently speak in foreign tongues (Romance languages, perhaps?), but do not demonstrate love by what we do, we would be like noisy gongs or clanging cymbals.
The truth is, sometimes we are all noisy and clanging. We profess to love the Lord, love those nearest and dearest to us, and love our neighbors, but our actions can say the opposite.
How does God respond? Rather than telling us only how He feels, He embodies true love in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Jesus came from heaven to earth to lay down His life for boastful, selfish, irritable people like me and you. Although He is all too aware of the record of wrongs we have committed against Him and one another, He didn’t come to condemn but to save us!
While we naturally keep tabs of how much others have disappointed or offended us, Jesus does not do the same with us. As Paul says in Colossians, though we were spiritually dead in our sins, God made us alive with the Risen Christ through Baptism, “having forgiven us all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)
1 Corinthians 13 is more than moralizing about how you should be more loving. Christ has already lived out these words about love for you! The record against you no longer exists. It was blotted out at the cross.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
How can Christ’s love for you shape your love for Him and those in your life this week? Whose “record of wrongs” against you do you need to let go?