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TEXT: I Corinthians 13:5c
SUBJECT: Attributes of Love #9: Love Does Not Hold a Grudge
Today, kids, we'll move on in the study we began quite some time ago. The chapter is I Corinthians 13 and the subject is love. Before we get to what it says about love, let me ask you a few questions. If you're paying attention, they'll be easy to answer; if you can't answer them, it's because you're not paying attention!
When the chapter speaks of love, it doesn't mean hugging and kissing. Nobody is more in favor of hugging and kissing than I am-but that's not what love means here! In some places, it does mean that-especially in The Song of Solomon-but not in I Corinthians 13.
Here, love means an attitude of some kind. What kind? The kind that isn't quick to find fault with other people; the kind that is thoughtful, even when other people aren't; the kind that is polite and easy-to-get-along with, and humbled, and happy when others have more than you do-even if you deserve it more than they do!
This means love is a really hard thing to get and to hold on to. In fact, it is more than hard to get. The Bible says it is impossible. No one can be loving on his own or by his own efforts or training or by the good example his parents set. You can only get and hold onto love by the grace of God, by the grace He gives to everyone who repents of his sins and believes in Jesus Christ.
Have you done these things? I know you go to church, but have you repented of your sins? I know you pray and read the Bible, but do you believe in Jesus Christ? Have you trusted Him to save you from your sin and punishment? This is where you start loving others-not with a list of rules or with a bunch of threats, but with salvation. Until you are saved, you will never love as the Lord wants you to. You might pretend to-and pretend so well that you fool me, your parents, and even yourself. But you can't fool God. He doesn't want your phony love, but the real thing. And He'll give it to you, if you'll take it-His way.
Today's subject is found at the end of v.5:
Love.thinks no evil.
There are three important words in little passage: The first is.thinks. What does it mean? It doesn't mean an idea that comes into your mind, such as I think it's hot or I think I'll take a nap after church today or I think this sermon would be really good if somebody else were preaching it! This is one meaning of the word, think, but it's not the one Paul has in mind here.
The word he uses means something like Write down in a book or Keep a record of. You've seen your parents' checkbook. Before you get to the checks, you'll see the log. I don't mean a piece of wood, but pages with twenty or thirty lines on them, some going side to side and others going up and down. These lines are there so your mom and dad can keep a record of what they deposited, what they spent, where they spent it and how much money-if any-they've got left in their checking account.
Some of you kids have a bankbook; others have a diary. Both are used to keep a record of things-how much you've got in the bank, or what you did last year or what you were thinking of two weeks ago.
Even the sloppiest, most unorganized people keep track of some things. We've all got records of one kind or other.
This is what the word means here. To think is to keep track of, or to write down in a book, a log, a ledger, a floppy disk, or something else.
The second important word is.evil. You know what an evil thing is-it's a bad thing, but more than that, it's a bad thing done to me. A man in China cusses at his wife-that's bad. But a man in church cusses at me-that's the evil our verse is talking about.
We've all had evil things done to us: Someone cut you down, or excluded you, or beat you up, or wrecked your bike, or laughed at you or stole your best friend away from you.
The most important word of all is.no! Love thinks no evil. In other words, love does not keep track of the bad things people have done to you.
EXAMPLES OF THINKING EVIL
This means love keeps you from holding a grudge, and from feeling sorry for yourself, and from taking revenge on people who have done you wrong.
It's easier to find evil thinking in other people than in yourself. So, let me an example of it.
Your parents get into a silly argument-most arguments are silly after you think about them. Your dad has an important meeting to go to, but he's got no shirt to wear, because mom has not done the laundry or maybe she has, but she hasn't ironed it yet. He snaps at her and she snaps back. But it doesn't stop there-with him wanting a shirt and her explaining why he doesn't have one. In half a minute, dad says, You're a rotten housewife! Twenty years ago, I had to go on a job interview with one black sock and one brown sock! Mom is no better: If you could keep a job, you wouldn't have to go on all these interviews, would you?
What are they doing? They're arguing about a shirt, in one way, but mostly, they're keeping records, or thinking evil.
Parents are guilty of this sin, but not only parents. Boys and girls also know how to keep a record of evil-and how to haul them out when they want to.
Keeping track of the wrongs people do is very common. Almost everyone does-and some poor people live that way-with a grudge against God, their family, neighbors, classmates, people at work-you name it-and they've got a grievance on them.
But even though it is very common, it is also very sinful. I'll give you three reasons why.
Number One: It breaks the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule says, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Do you want others to remember every wrong thing you ever did? If you don't want them to, don't keep track of every wrong thing they ever did. If it's right for you to hold a grudge against Bobby, then it's right for Bobby to hold a grudge against you.
But, of course, you don't agree with that because he did you wrong and it was not you who did him wrong. The problem is: Bobby feels the same way you do! He thinks he is the innocent one and you're to blame. One day God will untangle the mess, but until then, you need to forgive and forget.
Number Two. Your forgiveness depends-in some way-on forgiving others. I'm not sure how this works, but it's in the Bible and it's true: Unless you forgive men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses. This means: If you hold a grudge against your sister, God will hold a grudge against you. Is that what you want? For the Lord to treat you in the same way you treat her? If you don't you need to forgive her right now and never bring it up again.
The Psalm says,
Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
For in Your sight, no man living is justified.
Nobody is innocent before God! Except for the forgiven. Do you want to be one of them? If you do, then be forgiving.
Number Three: God thinks no evil. The Lord promises to remember our sins no more; to forget them; to put them behind His back, to blot them out, to cover them, and to remove them as far as the east is from the west.
Although the whole Bible teaches us this, we see it, most of all, in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. Peter denied Him three times, and the Lord forgave him, and kept him as an Apostle and as one of His best friends.
Do you want to please the Lord? If you do, you've got to give up your hard feelings and your hurt feelings. And you've got to replace them with forgiveness and forgetting.
You cannot do this on your own. Ask for the Lord's help, and keep asking until He gives it to you. Love thinks no evil.
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