I heard a story about a man in the early 1900’s who was bitten by a rabid animal and taken to the local hospital. The doctor examined him, ran some tests, and broke the bad news to him.
“I’m sorry,” he said, “but you have contracted rabies.” This was prior to a cure being found. So the Dr sadly announced, “There’s no hope for you. We can keep you comfortable during your last days, but that’s all. I suggest you write out your will and set your affairs in order.”
The man was shaken but managed to keep his composure. He asked the doctor if he could have a writing pad and a pen. The doctor found him a pad and a pen and the man started writing.
The doctor left, but returned several hours later. He saw the man still writing and said, “I’m glad you took my advice. It’s good to see that you’re working on your will.”
The patient looked up and replied, “Doc, you don’t understand. This isn’t my will. This is a list of people I’M GOING TO BITE BEFORE I GO!”
In one of the great chapters of the Bible, I Corinthians 13, Paul writes about the enriching, edifying and enduring qualities of love. In verse 5 he says, “ (Love) is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” This verse names 4 of the 15 characteristics of love. Let’s focus on the phrase “keeps no record of wrongs.”
The Greek word translated “record” is logizomai (log-id’-zom-ahee). A. T. Robertson says it means ” to count up, to take account of as in a ledger or note-book.” William Henriksen writes “Here is a verbal portrait of a bookkeeper who flips the pages of his ledger to reveal what has been received and spent. He is able to give an exact account and provide an itemized list.”
“Some people are keeping a similar list of wrongs that they have experienced,” comments Henriksen, “But love is extremely forgetful when it comes to remembering injury and injustice. When wrongs have been forgiven, they ought to be forgotten and never be mentioned again.”
Love is decision. A choice. An act of the will. Letting go of past wrongs, personal injuries and perceived slights is a demonstration of love. It is an attitude of forgiveness, grace and mercy. It is the magnanimous spirit displayed by Christ on the cross when he prayed for His murderers, “Father, forgive them. For they do not know what they are doing.”
Too often in our homes we keep score of insults, injuries, ill-treatment. Like the man in counseling who said, “Doc, every time we get into a argument, my wife gets historical.” “You mean hysterical? asked the Dr. “No,” replied the husband. “Historical. She’s always bringing up the past.” Love let’s go of the past. Wipes the slate clean. And begins again.
Among brethren, much of the relationship issues center around a lack of forgiveness, holding grudges, and keeping a record of others wrongs. Love doesn’t say, “I remember when….” Or “You’ve done that before.”
Keeping a record of wrongs without resolving them creates bitterness, distrust and anger. Finally, the one keeping the ledger has had enough. An eruption occurs. Accusations are hurled. Angry words ensue. And past resentments spue forth. All of this could have been avoided, if problems were dealt with daily instead of keeping a record of wrong to be used at a later time.
If you’re keeping score of wrongs by others, get rid of the record. Destroy the ledger. Mark the account “paid in full” by the blood of Jesus. And work on the other 14 qualities of love.
But if you’re so inclining to record keeping, make a list of the good things that others do to you and for you. Now that’s a record worth keeping.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman