Do you like to make lists? Grocery lists, medical lists, job related lists, list of family’s needs, movies to see lists, songs to purchase lists, and the list goes on and on. With today’s technology it’s as simple as typing or speaking a few words on our cell phones or voice controlled personal assistant devices such as Alexa. For those of us who are trying to keep up with our ever changing hi-tech society, the days of actually writing out schedules, agendas, or any other arrangement of words are quickly being filed away in manila envelopes designed for flimsy metal cabinets. I guess I’m old school when it comes to making lists because I still write with pen on paper some items I need to pick up at my local Walmart and even business I need to get done for the day. No matter how it’s done, keeping records is essential in so many areas of life, such as prescription drugs that a person takes, but there is one list that is not necessary.
In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians dealing with love, he simply states, “it (love) keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV). This means that the love like that of Jesus does not pen on paper, dictate on devices or even memorize in our minds any wrong done to us or anyone else by another person. There’s just no need to recall the evil done. The New American Standard Bible says it like this, “Love…. does not take into account a wrong suffered.” If we call to mind the wrongs that caused us or anyone else to suffer, we in our flesh have the tendency to want to take revenge. But Paul warns us, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, “It is mine to avenge, I will repay,” says the Lord” (Romans 12:19 NIV).
It’s our human nature to want to share all the wrongs done to us and in order to do this, we would have to make a mental or even tangible note of them. We live in a society where everyone is a victim and all the wrongs done are published on social media and television news. I’m not saying that those who do wrong should not be punished, but when we record them, they are there for us to dredge up time and time again. This is not what love does. According to the wise King Solomon, “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs” (Proverbs 10:12 NIV). And Peter reminds us “to love deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8 NIV).
Ok, so this means I can’t keep a list (even if it’s in my head) of all the times my husband knowingly or unknowingly says or does something that upsets me. (And the same goes for him!) This is taking away all the ammunition for an explosive argument, the type when one spouse points out a wrong done by the other and the response is “well, you did so and so five years ago!” This type of “discussion” can become a never ending cycle like a hamster on an exercise wheel that gets it nowhere!
We must also love our children, siblings, parents, friends, neighbors, co-workers and everyone in which we have any type of relationship the same way. We just simply cannot bring up past wrongs. We need to be love accountants with a new strategy of recording only the good deposits- “whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8). In God’s economy, He will take care of the liabilities. The return on this investment of love will be immeasurable!