Saturday, July 15, 2006

Love does not keep a record of wrongs: Part 1

Love may not keep a record of wrongs but God’s accounts are always accurate, up to date, and in great detail. God sees everything we do, and all our words and deeds are recorded in books before the living God. Everything we do and say is recorded, and one day, we will be called to give an account for everything that is written in those books. Paul reminds us that, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) If God is love then how can we reconcile His detailed accounting of our lives with the truth that love does not keep a record of wrongs? The answer is that God keeps two sets of books.
And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:12-15)
Notice that there are the “books” and there is also another “book”. In the “books” are written an accounting of our words and deeds, but in the “book”, is written the names of those have been forgiven by the Lamb of God. In the end, it only matters what is written in the one “book”. We have all sinned; we all have plenty written about us in the “books” that we are ashamed of. If we were to be judged by the “books” we would all be damned to hell and to an eternity apart from the presence of God, but our eternal state is not determined by the “books”. Whether we receive eternal judgment or eternal life is determined solely by whether our names have been entered into the one “book”, the Lamb’s book of life. This is why the scriptures say, “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.” (Romans 4:7-8)

We too have two sets of books. One is a compilation of everything others have said about us and done to us. We also have a second book, a book that lists those whom we have freely chosen to forgive. When others sin against us, love chooses to write their name in our book of the forgiven. We cannot erase what they have done but we can choose to forgive them. I have had some say, “I’m not ready to forgive,” but most often what they are really saying is that they are not ready to give up their claim on the other person. They were wronged and the one who wronged them owes them. Their anger and their desire for vengeance are greater than their willingness to forgive. Unfortunately, the anger they choose to hold on to ends up only hurting themselves, and their unforgiveness towards them only serves to build a wall between themselves and God. If we are not ready to forgive, it is because we have chosen not to forgive. Love chooses to forgive. Love chooses to close the book in which we have written all their misdeeds against us and to forgive them and write their name in the book of our forgiveness. God has done this for us; we can do it for others.

More to come… David Robison

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