Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Keeping Score

It [love] keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5

Mayhem ruled our household. Maybe a counselor could help us adjust our family dynamics. The stress of managing the disease, frustration from the growing physical limitations, and the behavioral fluctuations of a pre-teen overwhelmed us. We met with a family counselor who specialized in complex medical situations like ours and came away with some definitive strategies and improved clarity to move us forward.

We incorporated a daily behavioral checklist. Though skeptical that first morning, Peter experienced significant success by day’s end. Day two he woke up a little less stable than the day before, the variability characteristic of his disease. Yet Peter wanted to do more independently to score with his checklist. His struggle to do so successfully left him vocal and frustrated, with me on edge.

I internally criticized the checklist. There ought to be a way to take away points, I thought, to punish those choices that directly contradict the checklist. This only keeps track of the good choices. It doesn’t address the bad.

The thought had no more than flashed through my mind when another thought tagged onto the end…. just like God. Instantly convicted, I let the Holy Spirit continue. Once you accept Christ, isn’t that how God does things? Doesn’t he watch and celebrate and reward all the good choices you make? Isn’t that what he keeps track of? All of the bad choices he practically ignores. They are under grace, already paid for. This checklist challenges you to love and live as God does, to extend grace instead of punishment, to encourage and celebrate the good choices along the way.

I paused to pray. I confessed my ignorance and selfishness that made me extend judgment rather than the same grace I’d so freely received. I thanked God for building my understanding of how he loved me. I begged his help to love Peter that same way.

Have you experienced the grace of God? Do you understand how forgiveness through Christ covers all sin in your life, past and present? It’s from that understanding we gain empowerment through gratitude to extend that same grace to others and thus become more like God himself. We serve a God of unconditional love, a love so foreign to our experiences. God is not watching, just waiting for me to trip up so he can correct me and show his power. God is watching, waiting to comfort me when I fall, cheer me when I succeed, encourage me when I hesitate, counsel me when I’m confused. God is on my side, not against me. He loves me from the overflow of his essence, his character, not conditionally based on my performance. His love does not change. His love never fails. When that understanding fully registers, the security of His love frees me to love others that way too.

Let us make it our prayer today that God would help us grow in our understanding of his love. Then, in gratitude for his gift, may we be decisive to extend his love and grace to others. Who needs that love from you today? Your spouse, your child, a friend, a coworker, your boss? I'm not there yet, but I'm working on it. How about it? Are you ready to stop keeping score?

No comments:

Post a Comment