“it keeps no record of wrongs.” I Corinthians 13:5
God has blessed me with an amazing gift…forgetfulness. I know, it sounds crazy to call forgetfulness a gift but in my case it is. I forget wrongs committed against me almost the second after they are done. It’s true! I can remember some wrongs done to me if I try hard but even then, I don’t have much if any emotion connected to the memory. You know that old saying, “forgive and forget”? Well, I do both pretty much at the same time immediately and I’m thankful.
Here’s the interesting thing about my forgetful heart…it only applies to other people and not myself. When it comes to myself and my actions I have a great memory of the things I’ve done that I wish I hadn’t and I’m guessing most of us are the same way. It’s easy to forgive someone else yet incredibly hard to forgive ourselves. However, I am convinced that the longer we hold on to shame and regret the longer we are living in slavery and bondage to the past and the less close we can be with God. Here are a few verses that I believe we need to apply to ourselves and forgive ourselves in order to allow the freedom to love others, and to love God, reign in our lives.
“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’. There is no commandment greater than these.” Jesus speaking in Mark 12:31
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 Paul is speaking of Love.
These are beautiful descriptors of love and I think for the most part when we read them we believe them to be telling us how to love others. While this is true, it is also true that they are showing us how to love ourselves. When Jesus told us to love others the same way we love ourselves, doesn’t it seem to imply there is a level of self-love going on? Not arrogant, boastful, mean “love” but rather, protecting, trusting, hoping, persevering love.
God’s love is unconditional. No matter what you’ve done in your past, what you’re doing in your present or what you’ll do in your future, God’s love is unending, steadfast and unconditional. Your actions, both good and bad, have no impact on God’s love for you. He’s provided forgiveness before you even need it. Do you feel that? Do you grasp that? Your past, present and future actions, good and bad, don’t draw or repel God. (Say this out loud and personalize it by starting with “My”.) Here’s what does happen though, your past, present and future actions, good and bad, draw or repel YOU to or from God. You cause yourself to be further away from God when you don’t love yourself, when you don’t forgive yourself, when you beat yourself up. If love keeps no record of wrongs, then if you love yourself you won’t keep your own internal record of wrongs. God has taken our sin, our mistakes, our regrets and thrown them as far as the “east is from the west”. (Psalm 103:12) Do you get it? Do you get that the east and west never meet?
God knows everything about us and He loves us. God knows how we are formed (Psalm 103:14) and that we sin, and yet He sent His Son to die for us in the midst of our sin (Romans 5:8). My heart’s cry is for you to draw close to God and in order to do that you must let go of your shame and love yourself with a love that keeps no record of wrongs. Give your wrongs to God and let Him throw them as far as the east is from the west. Seek forgiveness for those things you haven’t yet, make the changes you know He wants you to make in your life and then experience His peace and love for you in a new way and not through a filter of shame and regret over past actions.
I am learning to truly receive the forgiveness and love God has for me and stop punishing myself for sin and past mistakes. It’s not easy and yet it is necessary. God loves us so much and He wants to be close to us and so we need to let go. You can’t change your past all you can do is change your present and your future. I don’t know about you but I want all the freedom, forgiveness and love God wants to pour out on my life!
Love keeps no record of wrongs. If you struggle with keeping a record of wrongs for yourself, or for others, I encourage you to write these simple words down on a 3×5 card and tape it somewhere you will see it throughout the day. Ask God to help you change your record keeping and to help you focus on all that He has done for you.If I can pray with you, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Live in God’s love, grace, peace and mercy.