Love may keep no record of wrongs, but we do more than we would like to admit. We do this with people with whom we are close. We hold onto hurt and withhold forgiveness. We hold over people’s heads the mistakes of the past. We drag out past disappointments and disagreements when we argue. Paul is not advocating for the old “forgive and forget” notion that we throw around sometimes. That’s unrealistic and unhelpful. We aren’t computers where we push the delete button and it purges our memories of all past wrongs. In fact, we get in trouble when we forget things like the Holocaust, like acts of genocide. We get in trouble when we minimize the historical effects of slavery and racism and sexism. As the old saying goes, those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Paul readily remembers wrongs and even mentions them elsewhere in 1 Corinthians. Forgiving is not a memory dump of relevant, teachable information. We need to remember well. God remembers to remake and redeem. God remembers yet forgives. God is not held captive by the memory as we so often are because he remembers, yet lets go; he doesn’t hold our sins against us. Choosing love means choosing forgiveness even when we remember. Choosing love means choosing to learn from past transgressions, but not as a weapon in the present. Choosing love means when the memories of real, even horrible injustices don’t fade, their power over us begins to fade as healing takes its place. As we loosen our grip and forgive, the past loses its power to keep us stuck and powerless in the past. We move towards a better present.
If you you like to view this week’s sermon, you can watch that video below.