“Love does not keep score of other people’s sins.” That’s Eugene Peterson’s translation of part of 1 Corinthians 13:5 in The Message Bible. A couple of the guys in our church and I memorized 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 in August as part of a soul growth challenge. That line hit me hard as I was studying and contemplating the passage. How often in my life have I kept score?
Maybe it someone else got more attention than me, but I remembered that they got drunk one time and it made me feel a little bit better about myself. Maybe it was the time that someone told a lie about me, and while it had hurt my feelings, I completely forgot about the rumor I myself had spread. Or maybe it was my spouse who upset me seven years ago when she said something rude in anger, and when I may have said something rude more recently I remember that she did the same thing long ago. We have a way of keeping score of the wrongs other people do.
God’s love compels us to keep score differently. Instead of keeping score of someone else’s sin, God’s love compels us to forgive and to wipe away the scorecard. After all, that is what Christ did for us at the cross. That’s why the cross, when we actually apply it to our lives, can be so scandalous. It requires hard, divine work from us. It is work that we cannot possibly do on our own, but rather comes as a gift from the Grace of God. So what scorecard are you using? The Cross of Jesus or something else?
I've been contemplating the statement "forgive and forget" lately. A family member I talked with about forgiving another family member said he had forgiven but would never forget. Both parties tell me they have forgiven but then the relationship is still fractured. I'm still mulling over these thoughts.