In 1 Corinthians 13:5, Paul uses two negative descriptions—“is not provoked” and “doesn’t take into account a wrong suffered.” In other words, genuine love isn’t fragile. Agape applies lots of grace to a relationship; it leaves lots of room for the other person to make mistakes. And when you live in close proximity to someone for the majority of a lifetime, there will be lots of them to overlook.
I’ve seen both men and women who are constantly irritated by their mates. The smallest error—a wrong look, a misplaced word, a simple oversight—causes miniature explosions throughout the day. These little outbursts of irritability must certainly be the result of keeping a long list of wrongs close at hand. Paul uses an accounting term to caution us against keeping a mental ledger of bad deeds. When we do that, we’re losers.
The truth is, we can keep a list without writing anything down or even realizing it. If you find that your mate irritates you for reasons that you must admit are minor, the chances are good that he or she has something on the wrong side of your ledger sheet. Either address your anger appropriately and promptly, or simply let it go.
Pastor Chuck Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word. Since 1998, he has served as the senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, but Chuck’s listening audience extends beyond a local church body. As a leading program in Christian broadcasting since 1979, Insight for Living airs around the world. Chuck’s leadership as president and now chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry.
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