August 19, 2005

Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs (2)

Scripture Reading — 1 Corinthians 13:5d; Luke 15:11-32

“We had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother…was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” — Luke 15:32

The Psalmist says, “If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared” (Psalm 130:3-4). This truth about God is beautifully illustrated in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

The father in the parable represents God. When a sinner, like the younger son, repents, God doesn’t first haul out a record book and badger the person with every specific sin committed against him. Instead, he forgives and gladly welcomes the sinner back into his loving care. Jesus says, “there [is] more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Of course, everybody needs to repent “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

The older son represents people who find it difficult to forgive sinners; they keep a detailed record of wrongs committed against them. Consumed with bitterness and self-righteousness, they resent God for his compassion toward persons they dislike.

We pay a heavy price when we keep a record of wrongs. It can lead to serious depression. It makes it difficult to be thankful and to celebrate the ways God has blessed us. Our resentment can poison other relationships.

God’s love heals our resentments, empowers us to forgive one another, and opens our hearts to celebrate his goodness. 


Father, by your Spirit fill me with your love so that I may forgive others just as in Christ you have forgiven me. Fill my heart with gratitude and joy. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.


Devotion topics: Christianity, Discipleship