Read: I Corinthians 13:1-13
Reflect: Bill and I have been married a long time; almost ½ a century. He is very orderly and tidy. I am not. He puts away things. I pull out things and never realize that I didn’t shut the cupboard door because I am already looking for the next item. Unlike those blessed couples who have told me they “never disagree” (I have no idea what that looks like in a marriage with real people), we have conflicts. I often cannot remember the last answer to prayer I received, but in the middle of a marital disagreement, my memory can improve dramatically. I can remember the last five times Bill (in an effort to be helpful) rearranged all my paperwork while I was out of the house. Hours later, I often am still looking for the lost paperwork. It is amazing what I can remember when I think I have been wronged.
I Corinthians 13 describes love as not holding “grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.” Due to the grace and mercy God has extended me through the cross, God chooses not to remember things I have truly repented of. He has chosen to put aside all those times I have been argumentative, jealous, envious, boastful, proud, haughty, selfish, rude (and the list goes on). It isn’t that He is unable to recall my past sins, it is that He chooses that when He forgives, to really forgive. My sins don’t consume God’s memory.
In Philippians 3:13-14, the Apostle Paul says, “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on.” Maybe that is a good way of looking at the love we are to have for one another, a love that presses on. A love that doesn’t get entangled in an argument and then throw up in the face of the other person the 20 times they have done the same thing that bugs one. Let’s be honest, those 20 times I could lash out at my husband for what he has done, I’m sure there are 50 other past transgressions he could in turn throw back at me. Interactions like that only create a lot of emotional and spiritual scar tissue. Nothing is healed; nothing mended.
So, what kind of love is supposed to be the norm for believers? “Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.” Love keeps a very short list of wrongs that have been done against it. Love extends conversation and a willingness to work through a disagreement with someone else.
I have found it helpful to remember that the cardinal rule for disagreement is that if it cannot be worked out, then the hurt, anger, etc., need not become the fabric of my life. As a believer, I am to hand it over to God, be obedient to Him and let Him be the Judge and Jury (if needed). There are things way more important to God which He wants me to dwell on, rather than who wronged me. A genuine believer presses on.
Apply: So, the next time I am in conflict with my husband because he has rearranged all my paperwork so that it is neat and tidy and I am upset because I cannot find the three most important things that were in my special piles, I have to let it go. God knows where the paperwork is and if it is important enough, God can show me where it is. God has an amazing memory. He remembers the important things so that I don’t have to!