True love – God’s kind of love – is both possible and impossible at the same time. It’s possible to love people the way God does when we’re living under His truth and grace and in His power. We know this because He commands us to love and defines it for us in explicit terms, and He never commands us to do that which He will not also enable us to do.
Then again, there are aspects of love that seem so far beyond reach. In particular, real love includes the ability to truly, completely forgive a person to the degree that we never, ever remind them of their former faults again. “Love keeps no record of being wronged,” the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:5. In other words, real love really forgives, not just temporarily, but forever.
We humans continually demonstrate our utter failure to truly forgive, and resentment is a toxin that poisons even the strongest of relational bonds. We claim the right to hold grudges and justify our record-keeping ability on the basis of what seems fair and just. But the God of justice and truth has gone first in this area.
God, who alone has every right not to forgive us for our rebellion against Him, has set the ultimate example, justifying us and declaring us not guilty by transferring the record of our wrongs to Jesus on the cross. And once we’ve accepted His payment and turned to Him in complete trust, He expunges our records and promises that “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:12 NLT)
Real, true, unconditional God-like love does the same for others. Real love doesn’t remind someone of their past or flaunt their weaknesses before them. Real love lets it go. This doesn’t mean allowing abuse without accountability. It simply means that we yield our right to be vindicated for the good of the guilty, and ultimately for our own good too.
Who do you need to love and to forgive?