Summary: We often think of forgetfulness as a weakness, as a problem. And more often than not that is true. But there is a time when forgetfulness becomes an absolute necessity. Paul says that ‘Love – keeps no record of wrongs’ He says that love is forgetful.
In the middle of that list of what love is, Paul says that ‘Love – keeps no record of wrongs’ (v5). In other words what he is saying is that, as well as being patient, and kind and a whole host of other things – love is also forgetful! –‘ Love - keeps no record of wrongs’ Love is forgetful!
Now we all know that forgetfulness is generally something we all try to avoid. Forgetfulness is something we tend to consider as a ‘curse of old age’.
The forgetful couple
Did you hear about the married couple in their 80’s who were having problems remembering things, so they decided to the go the doctor for a checkup. The doctor tells them that they are physically okay, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember.
Later that night, while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair. His wife asks, “Where are you going?” “To the kitchen for a drink,” he replies. She asks, ” Will you get me piece of cake?” The husband says, “Sure.” She gently reminds him, “Don’t you think you should write it down so you don’t forget it?” He says, “No, I can remember that!”
Then the woman says, “Well, I’d like some strawberries on top. You’d better write it down because I know you’ll forget it.” The man replies, “I can remember that! You want some cake with strawberries.”
She adds, “I’d also like whipped cream on top. Now I’m certain you’re gonna forget that, so you’d better write it down ok.” Irritated, he says, “I don’t need to write it down woman! I can remember that! Cake with strawberries! And whipped cream!” He then grumbles into the kitchen.
After about 30 minutes the old man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs.
She stares at the plate for a moment and says, “Where’s my toast?”
I am not forgetful
Three ladies were discussing the travails of getting older. One said, "Sometimes I catch myself with a jar of mayonnaise in my hand, while standing in front of the fridge, and I can’t remember whether I need to put it away, or start making a sandwich."
The second lady chimed in with, "Yes, sometimes I find myself on the landing of the stairs and can’t remember whether I was on my way up or on my way down."
The third one responded, " Well, I’m glad I don’t have that problem. Knock on wood," as she rapped her knuckles on the table, and then said, "That must be the door, I’ll get it!"
The curse of forgetfulness. Of course, it isn’t just the older generation that tends to suffer with forgetfulness – we can all be guilty of it and forgetfulness isn’t something that is usually thought of as a positive trait in someone’s character.
Have you ever said to someone you would ring them, and didn’t? Have you ever said to someone ‘don’t worry, I’ll do that, I’ll take care of it, I’ll make sure it happens’ – and didn’t. Let’s face it we are all guilty of operating on the level of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. We may have all the good intentions, we may have all the right motives, we may even have the desire - but they just don’t happen! And out comes the excuse, “I forgot.” And in our humanness we have forgotten to ‘do things’ and ‘say things’ more times than we care to remember.
Sometimes when we forget it causes pain to someone. Sometimes when we forget it creates mistrust between us and someone else. Sometimes when we forget it causes other people to doubt our honesty, to doubt our integrity, to doubt our trustworthyness. And they will stop relying on us to meet a need, to meet their need.
And that is why often we think of forgetfulness as a weakness, as a problem. And more often than not that is true. But there is a time when forgetfulness becomes an absolute necessity. Paul says that ‘Love – keeps no record of wrongs’ He says that love is forgetful.
That’s the challenge of the Christian faith. That’s the challenge of the type of love that Jesus Christ calls us to have for one another. Our challenge is to forgive and forget. We don’t keep records of wrongs. God does not keep that score in heaven and we’re not supposed to keep that score here. It’s the way of God and it’s the challenge of Christians.
But is it really possible? Is it possible to remember people without remembering their sin? Is it possible to remember people without remembering the wrongs that they have committed, against the world, against society, against you?