Love’s Divine Expungement

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7

“‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’
    says the Lord.
‘Though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
    they shall be like wool.'” Isaiah 1:18

“You will again have compassion on us;
    you will tread our sins underfoot
    and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19

Expunge: To destroy; blot out; obliterate; erase; strike out wholly; to cancel out or destroy completely; to eliminate from one’s consciousness. In law, an expungement order directs the court to treat the criminal conviction as if it had never occurred, essentially removing it from a defendant’s record.

In perfect, kind, selfless love, one keeps no record of wrongs. The other’s deserved penalty has been paid in full with mercy, so it is put away forever. No owing, no recounting, no record. Jesus loves this way to this end, and so are we are to love one another. As He has graciously done away with our sin against Him, we are in turn to expunge all infractions against us. Not repeat them, resurface them, or return them to the ring for a fight. Ever. (John 13:34; 1 Peter 2:24)

Keeping no record of wrongs closes the door on resentment with love upon love. It seals off forever every offense, with a freedom and joy that says, ‘no more. You will not have a hold or effect on me.’ It turns greed into generosity, the tendency to nurse a wound to healing it, and bitterness and competition into protecting, trusting, and persevering.

As for accounts, records may vary. For our good, we must keep them short, daily bringing the tally to zero. Some wrongs may be confessed, to which we kindly extend forgiveness and repair. Others, perhaps never acknowledged or confessed, are expunged when we pray, with humility and genuine compassion, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” It’s not up to us to convict or correct- the Holy Spirit is better at those anyway. But it is our responsibility, and is doable by God’s grace, to forgive, and release. (Luke 23:34; Ephesians 4:26-27)

What sins are we holding against others? Would we, with an act of will, forgive, and put them to rest, forever? We may not forget, and still and forever bear scars, but the record keeping- the pulling out the list to recount and recite- must not be. In holding onto wrongs done us, we’re the ones shackled. What and whom the Lord has set free is free indeed, and the chains He broke at Calvary fall from us as we relinquish our list. (John 8:36; Ephesians 4:32)

Gracious Lord, in gratitude for the Cross and Your divine forgiveness, help me expunge every record of wrongs done me. May I love others as You love, so You are exalted and known.

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