Thursday, May 24, 2007

What's On Your Account Ledger?

Love “does not take into account a wrong suffered” (1 Corinthians 13.5). Of all the descriptions of love contained within the apostle Paul’s masterful treatise on the subject of love, this concept is the most challenging to me. In a way, Paul is saying that love is blind, and that love has no memory.

We have all been hurt by the words and actions of others. We have all be treated unfairly, and even many of us have been cheated, lied about, or falsely accused. Paul says that our love must extend beyond such ill treatment.

Surely, Paul is exaggerating the issue. Isn’t he simply painting the ideal picture of love and not that which is possible or even likely? Surely, Paul knows that love can only extend so far, and that it must be conditioned upon reciprocal treatment and returned love. No, Paul is most certainly serious. The standard for love he describes is the standard to which our love must be measured.

What Paul describes is the love our Lord showed. I stay amazed at the event described in John 13, where Jesus took the position of a lowly household servant and washed the dirty, stinky, ugly feet of his disciples. In that room, and among the men whom he served, were Peter and Judas, men who would betray and deny him only hours later. Yet, Jesus loved them despite the knowledge of what they would do. And, even more amazing than this, he looked down from the cross upon those who had hung him there, and he prayed, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

Love “does not take into account a wrong suffered.” I am challenged by these words. For about three years, I have been mistreated by a person close to me. The details of the abuse are not important, but I have been repeatedly misjudged by this person and have been accused unfairly, without being given the recourse to show my innocence. My responses have been human. I have been angry. I have been bitter. I have said things that I shouldn’t have. I have struggled to forget the ill treatment and disrespect shown to me. I have kept an account of a wrong suffered.

I must learn how to love as Paul says I must love—blindly and without memory. Please pray for me as I struggle in this. For, it truly is only through the strength that God supplies that this love is made possible.