What Does “Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs” Mean?
I added these few paragraphs over at the Our Place forum. The question was asked, “what does 1 Corinthians 13:5 mean when it says that love keeps no record of wrongs? Here are some thoughts. You KNOW that this is just the kind of biblical phrase that an abuser is going to pull out of his bag of tricks-
It is interesting to see that this phrase is so variously translated. It took me awhile to find it, in fact. I looked in 1 Cor 13 right off, but could not find “love keeps no record of wrong.” Here are some of the ways it is translated –
NIV – “It keeps no record of wrongs”
KJV “thinketh no evil”
ESV -“is not resentful”
And there are many others. The phrase immediately preceding it is “is not easily provoked.” The Greek phrase is literally something like “it does not impute evil.” The word translated “impute” is logidzomai which is the same word that is used to define how God credits the righteousness of Christ to our account — “Imputation.” It’s a kind of accounting term. So it could mean keeping a ledger of wrongs done to us. Or it could mean perhaps “crediting evil motives”?? Whichever way you go, the basic thought seems to be that love is not characterized by sinful, vengeful anger. Even with abusers, we don’t seek personal vengeance upon them, but leave it to the Lord.
But this has nothing to do with a kind of “I will keep your account record totally blank and declare as inadmissible in my mind any memory of evils that you have done to me in the past.” My good old proof text that I always like to turn to is 2 Timothy 4:14-15, Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. (15) Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.
That doesn’t sound like Paul has forgotten what this rotten guy Alexander did. He even encourages Timothy to take note of it and to take the appropriate cautions. Unless we are prepared to say that Paul, who wrote 1 Corinthians 13!!! didn’t practice what he preached, then “love keeps no record of wrongs” cannot mean that we are precluded from remembering evil done against us and refusing to trust such a person who proves themselves untrustworthy.
So the abuser can just put that one back in his bag. It won’t work.