1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
There are three major kinds of love identified by three Greek words; eros, phileo, and agape.
We are most familiar with eros love, or romantic love.
As its name indicates, eros is passionate or sexual love (eros is the source of the English word erotic). The second major kind of love is phileo the Greek word for friendship love.
Phileo refers to brotherly love and is most often exhibited in a close friendship. Best friends will display this generous and affectionate love for each other as each seeks to make the other happy.
Agape is the most powerful, noblest type of love. Agape is sacrificial love. Agape love is more than a feeling—it is an act of the will. This is the kind of love that can be commanded and controlled or directed by the mind and will of the person who chooses to love.
This is the love that God has for His people and that prompted the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus, for our sins.
Agape Keeps No Record Of Wrongs
Agape keeps no record (meaning to count, charge with, decide, think, conclude, or suppose) of wrong (bad or evil in the widest sense). It is impossible to love somebody and at the same time hold the bad things they may have done in the past against them.
Paul actually talks about this earlier in this letter to the church at Corinth.
1 Corinthians 6:1-8 NIV If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers! The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters.
Some in the church were bringing lawsuits against other Christians. Instead of settling church matters among themselves in a spirit of humility and love, they were dragging each other to court. To combat the attitude of demanding one’s “pound of flesh,” Paul wrote that love “keeps no record of wrongs.” In fact, it is better to be cheated than to be unloving.
Jesus Christ provided the ultimate example of this type of love. On the cross He paid the price for the sins of the entire world.
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8 NIV You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus kept no record of wrongs. He even prayed for those that killed Him.
Luke 23:33-34 NIV When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Refusing to keep a record of wrongs is a clear expression of God’s love and forgiveness.
Colossians 3:13-14 NIV Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
People say they love each other, but, as soon as one gets angry, out comes the list of past sins! Accusations fly, painful memories are dredged up, and bygones are no longer bygones. This is not love. True, godly love forgives and refuses to keep track. The focus of love is not one’s own pain, but the needs of the loved one.
Obviously, we should not allow people to continue to hurt or abuse us or others. That’s not what it means to keep no record of wrong. The goal is to have a spirit of reconciliation, to forgive those who seek forgiveness, letting the past stay in the past.
Some people have an ax to grind, but Christian love seeks to bury the hatchet. Love keeps no record of wrongs, for we forgive as Christ has forgiven us.
Matthew 18:21-22 NIV Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
That is love.