Offense is a Prison
1st Corinthians 13 is one of the most beautiful descriptions of love. It’s a verse used often and with good reason at weddings. So, most of us are familiar.
It starts with love being patient and kind. It goes on laying out the stunning attributes of God’s nature.
Tucked between how Love isn’t easily angered and how Love doesn’t delight in evil is a powerful thought; Love keeps no record of wrongs…
Jesus, Love in human form, hanging on a cross between heaven and earth, His flesh torn, his body battered, His hands and feet pierced, the lie of separation a veil between Him and the Father, cutting Him off from sensing His Fathers affection; Jesus revealed the powerful sovereignty of Love. Confronting the arrogance of humanistic thought (what seems right to a man) He kept no record of the worst wrong humanity has ever committed:
“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
The power in those stunning words!
Do you know what happened when He kept no record of our wrongs?
He couldn’t justify His right to be offended.
And all creation was rebirthed in this powerful conclusion; “…neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Offense happens. And sometimes it’s horrific. But keeping a record of the offense is a sign that we’re headed down a dangerous road.
Road signs have two purposes: they let us know where we are, and they let us know where we are going. Personal offense or “keeping a record of wrongs,” is a road sign that we are headed toward bondage instead of freedom.
The key to freedom isn’t about not being offended—it’s about keeping no record.
I am not writing about somehow magically forgetting an offense. That would be emotionally and intellectually dishonest. Nor am I writing about trust; trust is earned over time and circumstances, and it can be lost in a moment.
I am writing about choosing to forgive. I am writing about not staying offended.
Forgiveness is the expression of honor that Jesus consistently and ultimately revealed on the cross. Forgiveness is a choice that can be made regardless of what the offender has done.
When we forgive, we choose to keep no records of wrong, we choose to not stay offended, to “not count someone’s sin against them.” And in so doing, we set ourselves free from a right to our offense.
Keeping no record of wrongs means another person doesn’t get to determine whether we are free; another person doesn’t get to control the narrative of our hearts with their offense.
This freedom is a beautiful and powerful thing. It creates a heart culture in us of reconciliation and restored relationship. It is the beautiful evidence of self-control, the Holy Spirit at work within us. It is the partnership with Jesus that brings great joy and life and wholeness to our relationships, it is “on earth as it is in heaven.”
I am leaning into what Jesus modeled and gave me as an inheritance, I am learning to keep no record of the wrongs done to me, and I am walking in greater freedom and transformation. I invite you into this same joy!
Jason Clark is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story Ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.
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