“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 cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 (ESV)
I couldn’t tell you exactly when the “scoreboard” was turned on. Because I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t staring it down.
Maybe some of us naturally bend toward keeping a record of deeds we’ve done or deeds others have done. This ongoing tabulation of deeds in my mind sounds something like this:
She had the kids over last time, so I’ll be sure to invite them to our place 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 keeping up with someone else’s performance (or your own from another scenario)?
When we’re managing many relationships, it brings the opportunity for many “scoreboards.” The family boards, the friend boards, the serving boards, and the giving boards. 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.
Like when a perceived offense retracts 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 relationships. 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 place of people-pleasing tries to push me in and hold me down. Though He may be sad for me, I think He 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 is certainly done with it.
Jesus came to not just unplug the bright lights of the “scoreboard” 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, we don’t have to live in 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 knowledge 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 cleanses us from all sin.”
We cannot control whether or not another person records our every move. However, when we walk in Jesus’ light of love, extending forgiveness and mercy toward each other, we can do our part to keep the scoreboard broken. When we 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’s quick to forgive when mistakes happen.
And when we don’t walk in the light of love? For this, God’s Word tells us, “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” — just as we need it to.
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.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
1 John 2:10, “Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.” (NIV)
Romans 8:1-2, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus
the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (NIV)
Confidence empowers us to not base our identity on our performance. In Lynn Cowell’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.
What happens when you don’t have it all together? Our next Online Bible Study, Psalm 23: The Shepherd with Me, begins September 3. Walk alongside us as we learn what it means to find contentment in Jesus … no matter how messy life gets. Click here to sign up! Oh, and don’t miss our exclusive Spotify playlist — curated just for this study.
For a free download of “When Confidence is Challenged,” click HERE.
Lynn Cowell loves to help girls and women live in the confidence of Christ. You can connect with Lynn HERE.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
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 relationships.
Join the conversation! We’d love to hear your thoughts about trying to keep up when you don’t have it all together — and the freedom found in Christ of not having to keep score anymore.
© 2019 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.