Love keeps no record of wrongs

I recently looked up 1 Corinthians 13, the famous passage about love. In particular, I was looking at verse 5, which says (in the NIV) that 'love ... keeps no record of wrongs' - not just a very important teaching, but also a pretty specific one.

I had wondered how that sounded in the King James Bible and was surprised to find that it simply has "love ... thinketh no evil".

I don't know any Greek, and I'm wondering how such different translations could have come about. To me, 'thinking no evil' suggests simply not assuming the worst of anyone, but 'keeping a record of wrongs' is something more like keeping a running mental scorecard of everything another person has done wrong - a habit which is easy to slip into and probably very destructive. I was wondering how other Shipmates interpret this - and whether you have any preferred translations.
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  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Interesting. The NRSV has ‘resentful’. The Greek word λογίζεται focuses around ideas of counting and calculating. So the idea of (not) keeping some kind of reckoning of wrongs seems very plausible.
  • jay_emmjay_emm Shipmate
    Where I've looked it up the KJV does seem to keep sentence structure notably (at least as regards names, which I can spot)

    Transliterated it seems to be, ou logizetai to kakon.

    Looking it up, kakon seems to come up as evil/worthless (my first thought on seeing it was 'shit'?)
    I'll take bro James word about the word that looks like logistics.
    So based on that and the translations made I'm guessing it should be "(it does) not record of evil", which doesn't really work.
    That would meant they both have one word more literal and one they've shifted. (Evil to the more countable wrongs, record to the Think)

    Now that I look at it, is there anything that suggests the wrongs/evil are against the lover. "Thinketh no evil" almost works as like Love doesn't scheme. Not so much that that you think the best of them, but that you plan the best for them.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    At Bible Gateway Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament has that part as "it (love) keeps no account of wrongs".

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+13:5&version=MOUNCE

    Do people in the know respect the scholarship of this translation?
  • As I understand it, the English translation that Mounce uses in his book is an earlier (1983, I think) edition of the NIV. In the latest edition of the NIV, a slight change has been made to this verse (1 Cor 13:5). The opening words of the verse are now, "It does not dishonor others," replacing the earlier "It is not rude," The originality of Mounce's book lies in the page design and the "reverse interlinear" arrangement of the English and Greek texts. It is not a new translation.

    https://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/13-5.htm
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Ah, thanks.
  • TelfordTelford Ship-mate
    I recently looked up 1 Corinthians 13, the famous passage about love. In particular, I was looking at verse 5, which says (in the NIV) that 'love ... keeps no record of wrongs' - not just a very important teaching, but also a pretty specific one.

    I had wondered how that sounded in the King James Bible and was surprised to find that it simply has "love ... thinketh no evil".

    I don't know any Greek, and I'm wondering how such different translations could have come about. To me, 'thinking no evil' suggests simply not assuming the worst of anyone, but 'keeping a record of wrongs' is something more like keeping a running mental scorecard of everything another person has done wrong - a habit which is easy to slip into and probably very destructive. I was wondering how other Shipmates interpret this - and whether you have any preferred translations.

    For me it simply means Forgive and Forget.
  • That's not, perhaps, quite what it says, but *Forgive and Forget* could well be regarded as a paraphrase.

    Certainly a maxim worth remembering.
  • Forgive and forget is dangerous if the person is an abuser, or has a habit of doing dangerous things. We are told to be wise as serpents as well as innocent as doves, and IMHO remembering (without hatred) is necessary in certain cases, where the behavior is likely to recur and be damaging. I don't think the Pauline passage is ruling this kind of wisdom out--just the tit-for-tat record-keeping.
  • TelfordTelford Ship-mate
    Forgive and forget is dangerous if the person is an abuser, or has a habit of doing dangerous things. We are told to be wise as serpents as well as innocent as doves, and IMHO remembering (without hatred) is necessary in certain cases, where the behavior is likely to recur and be damaging. I don't think the Pauline passage is ruling this kind of wisdom out--just the tit-for-tat record-keeping.

    If someone has wronged you or another you are entitled to report them to the Police and give evidence in court if necessary. You can still forgive and forget after you have done so,
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited April 3
    I can only speak for myself, but some things i simply cannot forget.

    Although I can forgive.



    Taking scripture as a whole, I have been unable to find any justification for a Forgive and Forget approach.

    You might find that works for you though.
  • TelfordTelford Ship-mate
    Ethne Alba wrote: »
    I can only speak for myself, but some things i simply cannot forget.

    Although I can forgive.



    Taking scripture as a whole, I have been unable to find any justification for a Forgive and Forget approach.

    You might find that works for you though.

    You're right. To forget something trivial is easy. Something more serious is very difficult. I guess that it's forgivness that's the most important.

  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    I don’t think “forget” in “forgive and forget” is intended to mean “lose memory of,” much less “do not learn from.” I think it’s “forget” in the more figurative sense of “overlook,” “disregard” “lose care for,” or perhaps “let go of.” It’s akin to the sense of “I didn’t mean that; forget I said it.” Or perhaps more pertinent, the sense intended by answering “Forget about it” to the statement “I owe you.” It’s unlikely in that last one that there’s really a desire to wipe it from the memory. The meaning is “I’m not keeping score, and you don’t have to either.”

    “Forgive and forget” is intended, I think to mean “forgive and move on” or “forgive without keeping score.” But they don’t have the easy alliteration of “forgive and forget.” Unfortunately, the price of that alliteration is the real risk of “forgive” being taken literally rather than figuratively.

  • Forgive and move on works for me. But "forget" is both impossible (usually) and dangerous. We had a stalker from 15 years ago show up at my house two weeks ago. She is quite a dangerous person. There's no way in hell I want to forget about her, as she's clearly the kind to persist in her behavior lifelong. I'll do my best not to obsess about her, and I will (with God's help) do what I can to not hate her or wish her ill--or do her ill--but I want my family safe. And I see no reason why Jesus would want otherwise.
  • LatchKeyKidLatchKeyKid Shipmate
    For ordinary hurts I like RealLivePreacher's take https://gordonatkinson.net/rlp-archive/forgiveness - extract below to give a taste of the article.
    Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. You have things to do and you want to move on with your life. You can’t forget, of course. That’s not even possible. But forgiving has nothing to do with forgetting. You should remember everything and learn from it. Forgiving is a goodness in the middle of remembering.

    However, a friend and also a chaplain have said that if the hurt is traumatic that even this approach to forgiving without forgetting is too difficult.
  • That's not, perhaps, quite what it says, but *Forgive and Forget* could well be regarded as a paraphrase.

    Certainly a maxim worth remembering.

    Bad form to self-quote, I know, but, as others have said, *forgetting* is not always possible or desirable. OK in small matters, maybe, but not in large...
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    That's not, perhaps, quite what it says, but *Forgive and Forget* could well be regarded as a paraphrase.

    Certainly a maxim worth remembering.

    Bad form to self-quote, I know, but, as others have said, *forgetting* is not always possible or desirable. OK in small matters, maybe, but not in large...

    It strikes me as being something like the forgiveness of debts: writing them off to the extent of not expecting any explicit recompense, because it may well take an unsustainably long time to come, during which time the poison will continue to work. Forgetting in the sense of not allowing the incident to change one's relationship with the perpetrator is a different matter entirely.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    I think it must have been small thing(s), but I ran into a woman who had been my manager at a small retail store many years ago and she apologized for how she had treated me. I was surprised because I hadn't thought of her as a bad manager or person and couldn't remember any instances of feeling done wrong. She seemed a little conceited and cocky at the time but not abusive, and just a little immature. Maybe she thought that somehow her actions or words made my time there unhappy. I assured her that everything was fine from my end. So my "forgetting" was unintentional and forgiving unnecessary. Whatever she remembered loomed larger for her than it did for me.

    This little story probably doesn't aid this discussion. :neutral:
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    If someone has wronged you or another you are entitled to report them to the Police and give evidence in court if necessary. You can still forgive and forget after you have done so,

    There are many, many ways in which you can be wronged by another which are not criminal.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    There are concepts we struggle with both as individuals and as churches or societies. For a long time I held to the famous statement from Milan Kundera: 'The struggle against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting", the importance of not forgetting, so that we don't repeat the same mistakes, that we remember and honour those who resisted certain kinds of repressive power. Kundera himself was someone who as a young student may have informed on others in Communist Czechoslovakia and many biographers have asked about forgiveness: if he could be forgiven as a traitor, if disappointed readers could forgive him, if he could forgive himself.

    No easy answers, because to forgive but not forget means that the memory of the sin or crime will stay forever with the victims, the judges and jury, the guilty person who did wrong. Does it mean anything if everyone else forgives you and you live with an unmitigated sense of culpability, unable to forgive yourself? If the one who committed the sin or crime is unable to accept forgiveness because the memory stays with them each waking hour?

    In 1998, the French philosopher Jacques Derrida gave a talk at a South African university on 'Forgiving the Unforgivable' and his arguments have stayed with me. He asked, 'Can forgiveness be granted to a perpetrator if the victim is dead?' One of our oldest Christian and humanist understandings of forgiveness is that it involves a face to face confession, apology and reciprocal gesture of acceptance of the apology and forgiveness between perpetrator and victim. Derrida pointed out that in post-apartheid South Africa, nobody had the right to forgive on behalf of the murdered dead. There could be punishment and retribution, restoration and reparation, but not forgiveness. For Derrida, collective social forgiveness remains impossible since nobody has the right to forgive of behalf of the dead, and as long as the inhumanity of apartheid is remembered, there can be no escape from this historical indictment.

    The only possibility of forgiveness and erasure of guilt would have to come from elsewhere, beyond the graves of the murdered and death's finality, from a transcendent unknowable Impossible God, and for Derrida this would move the debate away from human discourse on justice to the language of theology and paradox.
  • Complete effective forgiveness is always going to have to come by way of God, even in the case of the living, as he has a share in the outrage of whatever evil was done to someone he made, loves, sustains, etc. and also because it's rare IMHO for anybody to fully grasp the evil done to them in such a way that the forgiveness they offer is completely aware and still forgiveness. I mean--suppose someone mugs me and steals my phone, and later repents and confesses, and I say, "I forgive you." I am aware of a lot of what he has done (the pain, the fear, the theft) but there are ramifications still unfolding, some of which I may never know (for instance, if the phone or its data got misused, handed on to some other evildoer, etc. Similarly if my nose turns out to be broken, not just bruised, or the whole incident leaves me with added PTSD. I'm going to have to keep forgiving him, day by day by day. And that's a relatively simple incident. And truthfully, when someone sins against me in a traumatic way, part of what I'm thinking is "Just go away already," because it re-traumatizes me to have him turning up again and again in my presence, even if he's asking for forgiveness for some newly recognized ramification. I'd rather do it quick and dirty once, and have him work out the rest of it with God. Not with me, I'm nursing my broken nose/brain/whatever.
  • TelfordTelford Ship-mate
    Gee D wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    If someone has wronged you or another you are entitled to report them to the Police and give evidence in court if necessary. You can still forgive and forget after you have done so,

    There are many, many ways in which you can be wronged by another which are not criminal.

    That's true, but the offender can still be forgiven

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    If someone has wronged you or another you are entitled to report them to the Police and give evidence in court if necessary. You can still forgive and forget after you have done so,

    There are many, many ways in which you can be wronged by another which are not criminal.

    That's true, but the offender can still be forgiven

    I thought I'd made it clear that I was drawing issue with the first sentence of your post, not the second.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I like the quote from Real Live Preacher, but for me there was a step before praying for M, the man who raped me, which was asking other people to pray for him, I couldn't at that stage, but I knew he needed prayers, so I asked other people to do it. Eventually I did. It was weird because during a service the person leading the prayers said, "Pray for someone you find it difficult to pray for" and much to my surprise I found myself praying that M would get help and have a happy life. I was surprised, but it also felt right.

    Thinking back on that time, which must have been in the early 1990s, I had also read Carter Heyward's "Our Passion for Justice" with the quote, "On your journey, take your friends along" which was what influenced me to involve other people in the prayers.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    Thank you that you also take us along, @Huia.
  • Compared to others, especially Huia, this is trivial.

    However, this is a passage relevant to my husband and me. He feels that I "keep a record of wrongs" I prefer "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me"

    Our particular issue isn't a major one - it's my husband agreeing to stay late at work / go in on a Saturday etc etc even if it means cancelling plans we already had. My husband regards this as being a conscientious, hard working and "good provider" husband.

    He feels that it is unfair if I go off on a "not again! not a-bloody-gain!" rant, followed by a list of similar transgressions, some going back quite a number of years now (I'm still casting up a 1998 incident.) He says I should keep no record of wrongs, and let it come as a fresh surprise every time he does it.

    In fairness to the North East Man, however infuriating I find this, I do realise that this is part-and-parcel of other aspects of him which I find wholly admirable. But it still drives me teapot.

    Should I keep a record of these wrongs?
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    He says I should keep no record of wrongs, and let it come as a fresh surprise every time he does it.

    I'm sorry, but this made my laugh out loud.

    I once had a friend who could never, or rarely, keep the appointments she had made with me to do fun stuff. There was no point in casting this up at her, because she was genuinely surprised to know that I saw this as a pattern of behaviour, when every time, in her eyes, it was because a new and unforeseen circumstance had arisen. In the end, to preserve our friendship, whenever we made arrangements to meet up, in my mind I made it provisional and laid a plan for what I would do alone if need be. Not that I suppose you can really do that with your husband.
  • North East QuineNorth East Quine Shipmate
    edited April 8
    Some of the times we argue about this is on occasions when I have avoided making plans with my husband if I would be upset if he cancelled - for example planning to go to a concert with a friend rather than the North East Man because I want to spend the day before looking forward to it, and not spend the day jumping every time the phone goes in case it's him, cancelling.

    Then he gets hurt that I don't want to go with him, and I provide my "record of wrongs" as a verbal Exhibit A.

    Of course, lockdown has solved this as we haven't had any plans he could cancel.
  • Is there any chance that you could recast this as a game, along the lines of "This is a contract; We are going to do X on Saturday; and if you cancel for any reason, I get ALL THE CHOCOLATE COVERED BUNNIES EVER ALL TO MYSELF! PLUS A STRIPTEASE FROM MY HUSBAND" or such?

    It worked for us with a highly contentious issue (Mr Lamb believed himself infallible when it comes to driving directions and is inevitably... not; we headed off the umpteenth argument on the subject by making a deal that I would shut up about the direction, and if he got it wrong, I got to buy whatever I wanted at the furniture store we were allegedly on the way to.

    The fancy golden bird sculpture I chose hangs on the wall just behind me.
  • Our particular issue isn't a major one - it's my husband agreeing to stay late at work / go in on a Saturday etc etc even if it means cancelling plans we already had. My husband regards this as being a conscientious, hard working and "good provider" husband.

    I suppose I'd think that it depends what he's cancelling.

    I work late sometimes, or get called in the middle of the night sometimes, and if I'm especially unlucky, I end up driving in to work at 3am on a Sunday morning, although those are very rare occurrences. That's part of my job. But sometimes I'm on vacation, or out for dinner with Mrs C or something, and either don't answer, or answer and say "I'm not available for another four hours - call this person instead" or something. It depends what I'm doing. So sometimes I'll end up working late, and call Mrs C and let her know she'll need to put the kids to bed, and sometimes I'll say that I've got to leave by 6, because Mrs C is going out, so I need to be at home.

    (And everyone I work with does this. People make their best effort attempt to be helpful, but if you call someone at the weekend, and he says "I'm coaching my kid's baseball team until 4pm - I can come in after that" then if you have to have that one guy, and none of his colleagues are good enough, then you'll have to wait till after the baseball game.)

    If the plans were "we were going to go shopping and look at X" then it doesn't seem like a big deal to reschedule. If the plans were "we've got tickets for this concert and it's a big deal" then there are a very small number of work reasons I'd end up canceling - perhaps an accident at work that seriously injured someone that worked for me or something.

    I don't think keeping a record of how often this happens to help predict how often it might happen in the future is a problem. I think bringing it up in a "not again" yelling match is out of line - if the expectation of his job is that this happens sometimes, then it happens sometimes. If he has flexibility about whether / when to respond to requests to work at the weekend, and makes the choice to ditch something you consider important, it seems reasonable to have a discussion about whether he understands how important this was to you.

    (And yeah, if he ends up working one weekend in four with no notice, I wouldn't make weekend plans with him either. If it's once a year, I'd probably risk it.)

  • It's not really so much about what he cancels, so much as whether he's right that my exasperation falls within the "keeping a record of wrongs."

    But, over the years, it's included dinners out, a delayed start to a holiday, cutting short a holiday (more than once), my Masters graduation (although I had plenty notice of that to arrange for a friend to come instead), a funeral, church services, that sort of stuff.
  • Grrrrrrrr hisssssssss.

    I think it's disingenuous to expect people NOT to recognize a pattern in one's behavior, particularly one's less-than-lovely behavior--and to shift the goalposts the way he's doing ("Hey, isn't that unreligious of you?") sucks.
  • I'm not trying to criticise my husband - after all, it's his holidays which get cut short, too, but wondering about the "keeping a record of wrongs" aspect.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    OK, well, I think your husband has a point, if you keep dragging up all the past incidents over and over again. Recognising a pattern and keeping a record of wrongs are not the same thing. Surely it is possible to make your point - that you really don't like this kind of thing - without going over the litany? Though of course if love keeps no record of wrongs, love also should listen to the beloved and show itself by acting on what she says!
  • LandlubberLandlubber Shipmate
    I'm not trying to criticise my husband - after all, it's his holidays which get cut short, too, but wondering about the "keeping a record of wrongs" aspect.

    It seems to me not as simple as that. My mother definitely kept a record of wrongs, every possible wrong - real and imagined. Having grown up with that, I found it very hard not to replicate and I admit that my husband was right to point out what I was doing.

    However, to retain a memory of one specific type of action (or inaction) where the impact is not being addressed (unlike Lamb Chopped's bird sculpture example - which I love) feels to me not like keeping a record of wrongs, but more like seeking a resolution.
    Some of the times we argue about this is on occasions when I have avoided making plans with my husband if I would be upset if he cancelled - for example planning to go to a concert with a friend rather than the North East Man because I want to spend the day before looking forward to it, and not spend the day jumping every time the phone goes in case it's him, cancelling.

    Then he gets hurt that I don't want to go with him, and I provide my "record of wrongs" as a verbal Exhibit A.

    Of course, lockdown has solved this as we haven't had any plans he could cancel.

    Planning to go on an outing with a friend looks, from the outside, like a good, balanced way out of an impasse which would avoid any need for record keeping in future. The reason I like Lamb Chopped's example so much is that it was a deal and she had the choice. In the one genuine recurrent example in my married life OH used to buy me flowers and expect that to make everything better and make me forget. It did not, as there was no equality to be had from the gesture and it felt like a reminder that nothing would change as a result.
  • It's not really so much about what he cancels, so much as whether he's right that my exasperation falls within the "keeping a record of wrongs."

    It sounds like a bit of exasperation is in order :wink:

    More seriously, I think "keeping a record" - of wrongs, or of anything else, in order to predict future behaviour is entirely in order. It doesn't even matter whether you consider it a wrong or not. You might, in theory, think that he's entirely in the right to keep cancelling on you because of some critical work thing, and you'd still want to have an idea of how likely it was to happen to any future engagement you'd like to make, so that you can plan around it.

    And choosing to take a friend rather than him to a concert seems like a perfectly reasonable approach to such planning.

    "Keeping a record" of wrongs in order to throw them at him in the course of an argument, on the other hand, might be on the other side of the line.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Conversations like this always make me grateful I'm not a more successful person :smile:
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    As I looked at the forgive and forget comments, it occurred to me that these are some of the same lines of reasoning I have heard from victims of abusers. I am not blaming the victims, but they have bought into this from their abuser and from their faith community as well as other sources. Abusers, in particular, resort to this jargon quite easily. It is part of the cycle of abuse.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited April 13
    In the past I have been very dismissive of parts of reformed evangelical Christianity and in all probability needed to repent of that.

    But there is most certainly conversation within a broad group of Scottish churches on this topic atm.

    And urging folk to forgive and forget? That is getting short shrift. And not before time.

    It is good to see a few pastors Really encouraging their congregations to biblically engage ..... and Engage The Brain.



  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    As I looked at the forgive and forget comments, it occurred to me that these are some of the same lines of reasoning I have heard from victims of abusers. I am not blaming the victims, but they have bought into this from their abuser and from their faith community as well as other sources. Abusers, in particular, resort to this jargon quite easily. It is part of the cycle of abuse.

    This.
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