The Selective Memory of Love

When I think of my dad, my heart overflows with wonderful memories. My mind can vividly picture moments with my boys, quiet conversations with me and holidays full of joy. There are so many precious memories that fill my soul about my father.

Do you want to know the truth? Not every day was great. There were times when dad and I did not get along at all. He disciplined me as a teen, and I responded in anger. He infuriated me as a young parent a couple of times that I thought would end our relationship. He embarrassed me as an adult with some of his comments. There are probably as many bad memories associated with my father as good ones. I just chose to put those in the past and let them go.

Every relationship you have is the same way. You have this with your parents, your children, your spouse, and every other person in your life. They are full of good memories that you cherish and bad experiences you regret. The question is, “Which encounters do you choose to remember the most?”

The Apostle Paul makes an interesting statement in 1 Corinthians 13. This is the chapter that is often called “the love chapter.” You may have heard it read at a wedding even if you have never read it yourself. There Paul gives us a list of things that love does and does not do. In verse 5 he says, “it keeps no record of wrongs.” In other words, chose to focus your thoughts on the good and forget the bad stuff.

This seems so elementary, but somehow, we forget it. In fact, in most cases where people are struggling in a relationship, it is because they have flipped this idea over in their heads. They can remember with precise detail every lousy action and forget the good ones. It happens in every situation but is most powerfully demonstrated in marriage. Slowly a person comes to the point where they only see negative actions and totally ignore any good behavior.

The challenge of having people in your life as a believer is always to stay focused on the good. Yes, people are still sinners and will continue to behave badly. They are also children of God who can do incredibly good things. Which one will you choose to remember?

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