I fall woefully short of loving people as God calls me to. I have a feeling that while God is eager for me to come to terms with that, He is also eager for me not to “camp” there. There is no benefit in self-flagellation. I confess my weakness. I embrace forgiveness. I move humbly forward, aware of grace received, looking for opportunities to extend that same grace. Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God. I believe love is from God. It’s FROM Him…. I receive it from Him. I give it to those I encounter.
Anyone who does not love
does not know God,
because God is love.
~ 1 John 4:8 ~
Love -Greek, ä-gä’-pā = affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love
Resentment – anger, bitterness, or ill will
NKJV – thinks no evil.
NIV – keeps no record of wrongs.
NASB – does not take into account a wrong suffered.
Greek, does not count up wrongdoing.
There is no need to expound greatly on Love Isn’t Resentful. When we or someone we love has been wronged, trust is violated. That is very hard to recover. Often, it’s never recovered. While I may not retaliate outwardly, I can hold an offense inwardly so that it simmers…rendering something highly concentrated, much more potent than it was initially. Sometimes we feel it’s warranted to hold an offense, because the offender “deserves it”. We think it would be foolish to release it, appointing ourselves judge and jury as we interact with that person.
Perhaps God would spare me the self-destruction of holding offenses as much as He would spare the recipient of them. I’m not sure. But I believe He warns us for our good, His father’s heart wanting to spare pain all the way around.
Why is it such a big deal to God that we release resentment? Two things come to mind. Firstly, God does not withhold love from me in the face of my offenses against Him. Ever. This is the kind of monumental truth that deserves a “pause and reflect” before moving on. Secondly, He is both just and the justifier of sin. He intends to act on my behalf in matters of wrongdoing. That leaves me free to extend love as He does….even as I live in the aftermath of being wronged…..even as, to my eyes, nothing has been right-ed.
Can you keep NO record of wrongs? Can you love someone who has wronged you as if they had never wronged you? I cannot, not in and of myself. Father, protect me from harboring resentment and bringing it to bear when I feel I must self-protect. You are my protector. And Lord, forgive me for continually acting as if I am justified in being un-loving toward one who has offended me. In light of Your love toward me, that is a gross offense in itself.
But if anyone slaps you
on the right cheek,
turn to him the other also.
And if anyone would sue you
and take your tunic,
let him have your cloak as well.
And if anyone forces you
to go one mile with him,
go with him two miles.
~ Matthew 5:39-41 ~