By Colleen Donahue


Painting: De Overhaaste Begrafenis 1854
By Antoine Wiertz

man in coffin

Have you ever had an argument with a friend or family member when suddenly memories poured out from them regarding something you said or did years ago? It’s startling because while you may not remember the incident, they have been ruminating on it for years, and you didn’t know it – until now.

Or, we can reverse the scene. Maybe someone you know forgot something important. You consciously, or unconsciously, determine never to trust them with something that important again. Yes, you forgave them, but you can’t forget what they did or didn’t do. So, you put them in a box with the label – “Can’t trust them”.

In the Apostle Paul’s most famous chapter about love – 1 Corinthians 13 – he tells us a litany of what love is and is not. But the phrase in verse 5 that has given me pause is: “….love does not keep a record of wrongs.”


If someone has wronged you ten years ago, or last week, and you can easily relate the hurt you felt and still feel, then you are keeping a record of their wrongs and it will always keep you from really loving that person. You have put them in a box labeled:  “You won’t hurt me anymore”.

Maybe you are continually critical of how someone does something differently than you would. You look for a sly way to get your point across to them through sarcasm, criticism, or humor. You are keeping a record of their wrongs and have put them in a box labeled: “they’ll never get it right and do it like me”.

20-woman taking jesus hand

Jesus was always about freeing us to be all that we can be. He says, “Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.” Then He opens our box to let us out. He washes the dust off our feet instead of remembering how dirty we can get. Then he tells us to do the same for others.


The Apostle John writes, “Therefore if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.” One of the ways Jesus sets us free is by not keeping a record of our wrongs. The Father doesn’t keep a record and so neither does Jesus. He tells us through Jeremiah:
“I will forgive their wickedness and I will never again remember their sins.” (Jeremiah 31:34b). Then, so we don’t miss this fact, the writer of Hebrews repeats this,
“I will forgive their wickedness and I will never again remember their sins.” (Hebrews 8:12).

We can either free others to be better than yesterday, or, we can keep each other boxed up with a big label on top. Do you want to be let out of your box? Then you must let others out of theirs by not keeping a record of their wrongs.


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let out of the box