I couldn’t tell you exactly when the “scoreboard” was plugged in. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t staring down the scoreboard.
Maybe some of us naturally bend toward keeping a record of deeds we’ve done or deeds others have done.
This ongoing tabulation in my mind tries to keep up at all times:
She had the kids over last time, so I’ll be sure to invite them to ours this time.
He unloaded the dishwasher last night; I need to empty it tonight.
Her gift was obviously more expensive than the one I gave her. I need to up my game for her birthday this year.
Like me, do you ever catch yourself keeping score? Trying to stay ahead or at least keep up with the performance of yourself and others?
When we are managing many relationships it brings the opportunity for many boards; the family boards, the friend boards, the serving boards, and the giving boards. And although I struggled with math in school, I’ve been quite successful at keeping up with this type of addition and subtraction.
Except when I’m not.
And then, no matter what I’ve been doing to keep up, the perceived offense retracts my points, taking my score to zero. For those who don’t truly know my heart, all the investment I have made is trumped with one offense, no matter how slight or unintentional that disappointment might have been.
The scorekeeper is offended and I lose. I lose love. I lose the relationship. I lose peace. I lose confidence and I am undone.
I’ve wondered how Jesus looks at me when I slip into this sorry state. This hole that people-pleasing tries to push me into and hold me down. Though He may be sad for me, I think Jesus also whispers finally. Finally, I am where He wants me; for in this place of being undone, I can finally be done with the scoreboard.
He certainly is done with it.
Jesus came to not just unplug the bright lights of the count; He came to break it forever. He died to forgive and break my sin of living to please others over living for Him alone.
Because of Jesus’ death, and the forgiveness He’s given, you and I don’t have to live in the fear of displeasing people. Yes, from time to time, we will disappoint others. We can’t please everyone all the time; nor should we. We can, however, live in the light of His love. We can live in the freedom that we already have approval; Jesus’ approval. He loves us; we are His very own.
So what about the hard relationships?
Our key verse in 1 John 1:7 has the answer to our dilemma. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 (NIV)
We cannot control whether or not another person records our every move. However, if you and I walk in Jesus’ light of love, extending forgiveness, and mercy toward each other, we can do our part to keep the scoreboard broken. If we will choose to look at others through the filter of Jesus’ light of love, we will see what Jesus sees.
Jesus’ light removes the dark filters of offense, entitlement, and expectations. His light creates a safe place of love that forgives when mistakes are made.
And when we don’t walk in the light of love? For this, God’s word tells us, “the blood of Jesus, His son, purifies us from all sin” just as we need it to.
Can you imagine how different, how absolutely beautiful, our families, our friendships and our fellowship would be if we simply shined this light, His Light, into our sticky situations? Ask Jesus to empower you to allow His light to bring understanding, forgiveness, and grace into your relationship.
Lord, I have kept score, and at times, allowed others to pressure me with their recordkeeping. Set me free with the truth that because of Jesus’ death for me, I don’t have to keep up anymore. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Confidence empowers us to not base our identity on our performance. In Lynn’s Bible study, Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures, gain the confidence to leave people pleasing behind. Get your copy here.
© 2019 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.