“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.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NIV)
There I am, in the kitchen washing the dishes like I always do — and the kids are crying and complaining. They are calling for me and they are crawling on me, whining and wailing, and I guess I’m the only one who will make it all better.
This isn’t anything new, though. Being the responsible one in the midst of chaos seems to be a curse I carry. I often find myself reeling, broken and bitter, when I’m in that place of feeling like it’s up to me to pick up the literal and figurative pieces … You know, that place of swooping in to save the day because you’ve determined everyone else has tapped out.
The moment pricks my heart and prompts me to ponder the many times I’ve stood at this same sink, washing dishes and drowning myself in memories of moments when I’ve felt unseen and abandoned. Funny how fast the mind can flip through flashbacks. So effortlessly, almost numbingly.
Yet as these piercing memories come flooding to my mind, I hear a familiar phrase whispering within me: “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” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
The words catch me off guard, like a long-lost message, a faint echo reminding me of something I once knew and thought to be true. An ancient truth, beckoning believers to embrace the kind of grace that reaches beyond the reality that life does sometimes leave us feeling broken and alone, wounded and left in a whirlwind.
The moment leaves me acknowledging the many records of wrongs that I have.
The strangers who offend me.
The neighbors who judge me.
The friends who misunderstand me.
The people who use me.
The truth is, humans have an innate tendency to count and keep tallies — it’s in our nature to use numbers to tell us how we’re doing and what we need. We do this with bloodwork and budgets, with recipes and odometers. Numbers help us to know when there is too much, or not enough, of something we need.
And I can’t help but think that, maybe, the number of names on our record of wrongs can help us measure the gauge of our grace — whether we are releasing or holding on to the people and places that have cost us and caused us pain.
I am standing at the sink, washing the dishes, but it’s really my heart that’s coming clean as it realizes:
I need God’s grace, and I need to give it, too.
In His great grace, God forgives us freely and infinitely. By His mercy, our sins and shortcomings are no longer measured and remembered. In this, we have been shown the greatest example of a love that cancels debts and keeps them in the past. A forgiveness that does not seek to be owed or given explanation or compensated. A forgiving kind of love that does not belittle hurt but that also does not become embittered by it.
Freely and infinitely, we can release the people and places on our record of wounds and wrongs.
Freely and infinitely, we can forgive.
Father, soften my heart to see and sense Your forgiveness at work in and through me. Help me as I release my record of wrongs. May my grievances give way to grace, and may mercy be the measure of my love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)
When you think about extending grace and forgiving others, what wounds and wrongs come to mind?
Make a list of any people, places or messy memories that keep coming to your mind. Read your list aloud. Then pray and ask God to help and heal you as you release these grievances and give way to grace.
We’re here to hear your heart — come and share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2022 by Rachel Marie Kang. All rights reserved.
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