Love keeps no record of wrongs – 1 Corinthians 13:5
The House That Love Built Part 3
Pastor Daniel Kolenda
September 5, 2021
Read 1 Corinthians 13:5
Have you ever wondered why old buildings are torn down to make way for new ones? It’s because the old structure cannot sustain a new building. This is how we must view our relationships with one another. We cannot build healthy relationships if we are holding onto wrongdoings. More so, we cannot complete God’s work if we have not forgiven our fellow brother or sister in Christ. In order to build a house of love, we must tear down any structures that will seek to destroy our relationships with one another. In this context, we must tear down any grievances and disputes that we have with one another. Relationships are created and sustained through forgiveness.
LOVE KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS
Christian forgiveness is radical. It is immediate, complete, and unconditional. It cannot be one, or the other, but rather, it must be all.
We cannot forgive and still hold on to what has been done to us. We cannot let go and still keep that person in mind. We cannot negotiate the terms of forgiveness—it has to happen right away.
We must base forgiveness in our relationships on the same terms that God does. We cannot expect God to forgive us and show us grace unless we forgive others.
Did you know that you can choose to walk in unforgiveness if you want to? The catch is, that you cannot do it as a Christian. The moment you choose not to forgive is the moment you cut yourself off from the grace of God.
‘Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”’ Matthew 18:23-35 NKJV
If we look closely at Matthew 18:23-35, we see where the master forgave the servant of his debts, but the servant himself did not forgive those indebted to him. We see in the latter part of the chapter that the forgiven servant goes after another servant who owes him money. Even though the amount he seeks does not compare to what he owes, he does not choose to let it go. Instead, he has the servant thrown in debtor’s prison and forgets that he was just forgiven for the same offense.
The king became furious upon hearing this because he cannot comprehend how he has shown the servant mercy and yet the servant does not show mercy in return to someone else. As punishment, the king orders the servant to prison to be tortured until all his debt is paid.
This serves as a reminder that God is displeased by those who do not wish to exercise forgiveness but yet want to be forgiven.
As a matter of fact, God had already forgiven us. God is love, and love keeps no record of wrongdoings.
LEARN TO WALK IN FORGIVENESS
Have you ever sat and wondered at times when there is so much turmoil in your life? Maybe you feel drained of energy or your spirit constantly feels heavy. As much as you may not want to admit or acknowledge it, a lot of times these feelings are caused by bitterness—and by extension—unforgiveness.
We know the common saying that bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. That is exactly what unforgiveness does to us. It causes us to become bitter and it eats us up so much that sometimes we feel like our body is being poisoned because these emotions of hate destroy us internally. When we are consumed with hate, it takes so much out of us because we are constantly holding someone else in mind.
But God does not desire for us to live like this. God wants us to live freely with one another. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
When we learn to forgive, we make room for God to heal us from whatever has caused us great turmoil. It doesn’t mean that we accept what was done to us, but it shows that we are trusting God to act on our behalf. We cannot build healthy, compassionate communities if we hold onto wrongdoings. We need to learn to let go and walk in forgiveness.
LEAVE YOUR GIFTS AT THE ALTAR
Matthew 5:24 says, “Leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” God instructs us to stop what we are doing and leave our gifts at the altar, in order to make amends with our brother.
We cannot fulfill the work of God with hate in our hearts for our fellow brethren. The main takeaway from this verse is that if our hearts are not right with God, then it is not right with each other. Our worship is not sincere if we are not repentant of our offenses. Our worship is also not sincere if we praise God yet harbor hate for His children.
God also instructs us to leave our gifts, not because it’s not important, but because He wants us to know that His work and brotherly strife cannot co-exist. There must be reconcilement. We cannot build His kingdom if we are not operating by His principles.
As we continue to build our church, we must remember that God is the ultimate standard for how we should treat one another. We are not perfect individuals, but we serve a perfect God who loves us all.
In the book “Forgive and Love Again”, you’ll find a wonderful depiction of what it looks like to forgive:
To forgive is to turn the key, open the cell door and let the prisoner walk free.
To forgive is to write in large letters across the debt, “Nothing Owed.”
To forgive is to pound the gavel in the courtroom and declare, “Not Guilty.”
To forgive is to shoot an arrow so high and so far that it could never be found again.
To forgive is to bundle up all the garbage and trash and dispose of it, leaving the house fresh and clean.
To forgive is to loose the moorings of a ship and release it into the open sea.
To forgive is to grant a full pardon to a condemned criminal.
To forgive is to relax a stranglehold on a wrestling opponent, is to blast a wall of graffiti leaving it looking like new, is to smash a clay pot into a thousand pieces so it could never be put together again.
Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love forgives, so let us live a life that forgives others.
What does forgiveness mean to you? Are you following God’s guidelines of forgiveness?
Is there anyone you need to forgive today? Or do you need to forgive yourself?
How did you feel after you forgave someone who wronged you in the past? How did you feel after you learned to forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve made in the past?
Love keeps no record of wrongs. Do you use a wrong someone has done to you to prove your point or justify your position?