September 17, 2019
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It was a great day for me when I went bowling and found out that they had invented automatic score keeping. I never could figure it out, especially on the more complicated stuff, when you just had to add it up on these cards. We never went bowling often, but when we did, we used to fumble around trying to figure out how to score the game. There are some folks who'll say, "Let's just have fun in this (whatever the sport is). Forget about the score!" We are not among those folks. No, in fact, no matter what the sport, most athletes would not be interested if no points were kept for goals, or runs, or touchdowns, or whatever. But I have to wonder if the people who just enjoy the game without keeping score have a little less stress in their lives.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Pulling the Plug On the Scoreboard."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 1 Peter 4:9, "Above all, love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins." Okay, now God starts off by saying, "above all," and the man through whom He's writing, Peter, gives an interesting description of what Christian love is in very practical terms. It's something that covers a multitude of sins. Now think of the opposite - un-love doesn't overlook any sin, any mistake, any offense.
See, the problem is this score keeping thing. We tend to keep score in our relationships, we rack up a negative point when someone fails us, or hurts us, or slights us, or in any way blows it. It was Peter who asked Jesus how many times he was expected to not score things someone did against them, to forgive them. Jesus said, "Seventy times seven." Let it go 490 times! By that time, who's counting anyway?
Maybe a relationship of yours is suffering because you've been keeping score with your mate, your son, your daughter, your parent? Maybe you've been racking up points against your friend, or your co-worker, or that person at church? And when they do something that bothers you or hurts you, you kind of figuratively roll your eyes and say, "There they go again." And you put another mark against them on your negative scoreboard.
In fact, those marks ultimately become a negative filter through which you view everything that person does. They can't do anything right now - even their good is explained away or it's unrecorded because it doesn't fit your negative grid; your negative narrative. Now, could it be that you keep bringing up those negatives, especially to make your point? Someone you're supposed to be loving might be drowning in your critical comments, your judgmental attitude, your negative assumptions.
The man who wrote these words, Simon Peter, experienced this kind of forgiving love himself. Remember he totally let his Lord down, denied Him three times in Jesus' greatest hour of need, but he found that Jesus did not hold that against him. In fact, when he finally got together with Peter individually after His resurrection, Jesus said, "Do you love Me?" Not, "Why did you fail me?" "Do you love Me?" That's all He wanted to know.
That's how Jesus is treating you, and now He's asking you to treat other people with the same kind of grace and mercy. Not to treat them in the way that they have treated you, but to treat them in the way that Jesus has treated you... and Jesus has had a lot more to forgive than you ever will. Colossians 3:13 says it so well, "Forgive, as the Lord forgave you."
It's time to put the scoreboard away isn't it? Like your Lord has done with you. Remember, un-love notices and records ever slight, every problem, every mistake. But we're servants of a Savior who makes us into people who love as He does - without a scoreboard.