For a guy who is supposed to be smart, I sometimes have a terrible memory. Many conversations with my wife begin with her asking, “Do you remember that time when…” and me replying, “Not at all.” I remember all sorts of numbers- phone numbers, baseball statistics, medication doses and how many representatives there are in Congress, but ask me about a vacation I took 15 years ago and I am likely to draw a blank. I remember medical facts and diagnoses but am terrible at names, so much so that I will at times hide in the store to avoid a patient whose health history I recall but whose name completely escapes me.
While forgetfulness can be a curse, there is one place where a great memory is an even greater curse- relationships. Remembering every wrong is a terrible thing. Sadly, it is also common. I have seen many people who seem to effortlessly recall everything someone has done wrong. It is as if they keep an up to date list in their head and are ready to whip it out whenever needed. I have caught myself doing this on many occasions, particularly with friends in the church.
I think of one friend who has a tendency to over commit. The natural consequence of this over commitment is frequent cancellations and postponements of planned meetings and get-togethers and occasional broken or forgotten promises. If I were to add up all of the times I have been rescheduled or forgotten, I could easily find myself angry and resentful, and our friendship would suffer. According to the Apostle Paul, I would also be an unloving person. Paul wrote that love “keeps no record of wrongs.”
Paul is right. If I continually keep track of every mistake others make, if I save the data up for future use, I will certainly be a jerk. I have made this mistake in the past and the pain that resulted was real. In the early years of my marriage I had to struggle to avoid this trap. As with many newlyweds we were both learning what it meant to be husband and wife. Learning to put your spouse first is not something any of us are practiced in and it takes time to learn the skill. Lisa was far better at this than I was, yet she was not perfect. As I come from an abusive family where hurts are remembered it took effort to not keep score.
Love demands we make that effort, that we not keep a record of the mistakes of others. I think that love actually does the opposite. It remembers the good things others do and focuses on them!
This is post is the 8th in a series on Love based on 1 Corinthians 13. You can scroll down to read previous posts, or start from the beginning by clicking here. If you have enjoyed these posts, please spread the word by sharing it with others. As always we love to read your comments!