Love does not store up the memory of any wrong it has
The word we have translated store up (logizesthai)
is an accountant's word. It is the word that is used for
entering up an item in a ledger so that it will not be
forgotten. That is precisely what so many pople do. One of
the great arts in life is to learn what to forget.
A writer tells how "in Polynesia, where the natives spend much of their time in fighting and feasting, it is customary for each man to keep some reminders of his hatred. Articles are suspended from the roofs of their huts to keep alive the memory of their wrongs--real or imaginary." So many people nurse their wrath to keep it warm; they brood over their wrongs until it is impossible to forget them. Christian love has learned the great lesson of forgetting.
Barnes' Notes on the N.T.: Thinketh no evil. That is, puts the best possible construction on the motives and the conduct of others. This expression also is comparative. It means that love, or that a person under the influence of love, is not malicious, censorious, disposed to find fault, or to impute improper motives to others. It is not only "not easily provoked," not soon excited, but it is not disposed to think that there was any evil intention even in cases which might tend to irritate or exasperate us. It is not disposed to think that there was any evil in the case; or that what was done was with any improper intention or design; that is, it puts the best possible construction on the conduct of others, and supposes, as far as can be done, that it was in consistency with honesty, truth, friendship, and love. The Greek word (\~logizetai\~) is that which is commonly rendered impute, and is correctly rendered here thinketh. It means, does not reckon, charge, or impute to a man any evil intention or design. We desire to think well of the man whom we love; nor will we think ill of his motives, opinions, or conduct, until we are compelled to do so by the most irrefragable evidence. True religion, therefore, will prompt to charitable judging; nor is there a more striking evidence of the destitution of true religion, than a disposition to impute the worst motives and opinions to a man.
St. John Chrysostom, Homily 33: And he said not, "worketh no evil," but, "not even thinketh;" i.e., so far from contriving any evil, she doth not even suspect it of the beloved. How then could she work any, ...who doth not even endure to admit an evil surmise[?]
Adam Clarke: Thinketh no evil] oulogizetai to kakon? "Believes no evil where no evil seems." Never supposes that a good action may have a bad motive; gives every man credit for his profession of religion, uprightness, godly zeal, &c., while nothing is seen in his conduct or in his spirit inconsistent with this profession. His heart is so governed and influenced by the love of God, that he cannot think of evil but where it appears. The original implies that he does not invent or devise any evil; or, does not reason on any particular act or word so as to infer evil from it; for this would destroy his love to his brother; it would be ruinous to charity and benevolence.
Henry Drummond, "The Greatest Thing In The World": Hence it is not enough to deal with the Temper. We must go to the source, and change the inmost nature, and the angry humors will die away of themselves. Souls are made sweet not by taking the acid fluids out, but by putting something in—a great Love, a new Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. Christ, the Spirit of Christ, interpenetrating ours, sweetens, purifies, transforms all. This only can eradicate what is wrong, work a chemical change, renovate and regenerate, and rehabilitate the inner man. Will-power does not change men. Time does not change men.
Some of us have not much time to lose. Remember, once more, that this is a matter of life or death. I cannot help speaking urgently, for myself, for yourselves. "Whoso shall offend one of these little ones, which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." That is to say, it is the deliberate verdict of the Lord Jesus that it is better not to live than not to love. It is better not to live than not to love.
Guilelessness and Sincerity may be dismissed almost without a word. Guilelessness is the grace for suspicious people. The possession of it is
THE GREAT SECRET OF PERSONAL INFLUENCE.
It is a wonderful thing that here and there in this hard, uncharitable world there should still be left a few rare souls who think no evil. This is the great unworldliness. Love "thinketh no evil," imputes no motive, sees the bright side, puts the best construction on every action. What a delightful state of mind to live in! What a stimulus and benediction even to meet with it for a day! To be trusted is to be saved. And if we try to influence or elevate others, we shall soon see that success is in proportion to their belief of our belief in them. The respect of another is the first restoration of the self-respect a man has lost; our ideal of what he is becomes to him the hope and pattern of what he may become.
John Gill's Exposition of the Bible: thinketh no evil; not but that evil thoughts are in such a man's heart, for none are without them; though they are hateful, abominable, and grieving to such as are partakers of the grace of God, who long to be delivered from them: but the meaning is, either that one possessed of this grace of love does not think of the evil that is done him by another; he forgives, as God has forgiven him, so as to forget the injury done him, and remembers it no more; and so the Arabic version reads it, "and remembers not evil"; having once forgiven it, he thinks of it no more; or he does not meditate revenge, or devise mischief, and contrive evil against man that has done evil to him, as Esau did against his brother Jacob; so the Ethiopic version, by way of explanation, adds, "neither thinks evil, nor consults evil"; or as the word here used will bear to be rendered, "does not impute evil"; reckon or place it to the account of him that has committed it against him, but freely and fully forgives, as God, when he forgives sin, is said not to impute it; or such an one is not suspicious of evil in others, he does not indulge evil surmises, and groundless jealousies; which to do is very contrary to this grace of love.
John W. Gregson: "thinketh (logizetai) or considers no evil;"
"Love often thinks of evil. To be otherwise is to be naive. But love does not spend all of its time in thinking about evil". ... Love thinks no evil; it does not keep a ledger of wrongs to repay later.
Matthew Henry: Charity thinks no evil. It cherishes no malice, nor gives way to revenge: so some understand it. It is not soon, nor long, angry; it is never mischievous, nor inclined to revenge; it does not suspect evil of others, ou logizetai to kakon--it does not reason out evil, charge guilt upon them by inference and innuendo, when nothing of this sort appears open. True love is not apt to be jealous and suspicious; it will hide faults that appear, and draw a veil over them, instead of hunting and raking out those that lie covered and concealed: it will never indulge suspicion without proofs, but will rather incline to darken and disbelieve evidence against the person it affects. It will hardly give into an ill opinion of another, and it will do it with regret and reluctance when the evidence cannot be resisted; hence it will never be forward to suspect ill, and reason itself into a bad opinion upon mere appearances, nor give way to suspicion without any. It will not make the worst construction of things, but put the best face that it can on circumstances that have no good appearance.
Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown: thinketh no evil -- imputeth not evil [ALFORD]; literally, "the evil" which actually is there (Pr 10:12; 1Pe 4:8). Love makes allowances for the falls of others, and is ready to put on them a charitable construction. Love, so far from devising evil against another, excuses "the evil" which another inflicts on her [ESTIUS]; doth not meditate upon evil inflicted by another [BENGEL]; and in doubtful cases, takes the more charitable view [GROTIUS].
BW Johnson: Thinketh no evil. The idea of the Revision is that love does not keep a record of evil rendered so as to return it.
Steve Lewis: Does not take into account a wrong suffered (logizomai) = to keep a record of offenses. This term was actually an accounting or bookkeeping term, so it has the idea of keeping a detailed history or inventory of wrongs -- who did what to whom, and when and how. Not to keep such a record means that we will have short memories of wrongs that were committed against us, and this can only be accomplished by practicing true forgiveness.
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