What is it that says love to you? For some it might be acts of service. Your husband takes the kids to the park so you can have time alone…finally! You feel loved when you’re pampered. Others of you feel most loved when someone spends quality time with you. A fifteen minute talk over coffee with a friend is worth more to you than just about anything. You feel loved when you connect. Maybe you are encouraged by a caring touch. When your daughter offers a hug after an especially bad day at work, your heart melts. You feel loved when you receive personal contact. What is it for you? Words of affirmation? Thoughtful gifts? What says, “I love you,” like nothing else can?
For me, one of the most loving things anyone can do for me is offer forgiveness when I’ve messed up. I get things all screwed around on a fairly regular basis in just about every relationship. I respond to an email less carefully than I should and find myself in hot – or at least lukewarm – water with a friend. I hyperfocus on some unnecessary, but fun-to-me project on the computer at night and don’t listen intently to my kids. I remember at 11:00 that I promised a church leader I’d stop by at 9:30 for a visit about an important matter. I make an erroneous assumption concerning an event I was not directly involved in and stick my foot in my mouth. All these things I have done in the past few months. And in every case, after I’ve been corrected and have offered an apology, I have been forgiven.
I am grateful to have such kind friends and patient family members. I am thankful my church is full of wonderful, caring, godly forgivers. That’s as God would have it among his people.
You know, when Paul defines love in 1 Corinthians 13, he says that forgiveness, or something close to forgiveness, is part of the package. He’s writing as the Holy Spirit guides. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” (v. 4) He gets a few more words. “It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (v. 5)
There it is. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love and forgiveness are tied together. They’re inseparable. You can’t have the one without the other.
Who do you need to love today? Is there someone to whom you need to offer forgiveness? Do it! Love keeps no record of wrongs.
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