“Love…doesn’t keep score of the sins of others”. (1Corinthians 13:5 MSG)
Sport fanatics constantly want to know the scores of their favorite teams: “did we win, are we winning”?? For obvious reasons gamblers also want to know the scores of teams. The fact is that scoring determines the winner. The concept of “keeping score” is also associated with “getting revenge”. In some cultures it is commonplace to say, when thinking of retaliation, “I’m going to even the score.” Meaning I will get whoever got me: an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth.
Biblically, the concept of “keeping score” is derived from the Greek word, logizomai (take into account). It’s a bookkeeping term that means “to calculate or reckon, as when figuring an entry in a ledger”(JM). Just as accountants record every financial debt, scorekeepers register or record every moral debt. They remember every wrong that has been committed against them. Wrong doing entries are recorded and contained in the heart and mind. The King James translation interprets this idea as “thinking evil”(1 Corinthians 13:5). The scorekeeper harbors evil thoughts towards the perpetrator at all times. Sadly, the believer who thinks evil perpetually is not in accord with Christian status or character and is behaving unbecomingly.
Now of course, it is not easy to abandon the idea of evening the score, thinking evil or retaliating against those who have committed wrongs against us. God is well aware that revenge is often a desire for us. That’s why there are so many verses that encourage us not to keep score or take action into our own hands. Jesus said in the Matthian text “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” (5:44). The apostle tells the Church of Rome “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
It has even been suggested that evil or wrong committed against a believer can work out or result in a good situation. “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20). This verse is in reference to Joseph who was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery after which he went on a tedious and transitional journey that led him to prominence and power in Egypt. Upon reaching his prestigious status, he saw his brothers in want, but he did not render evil for evil or keep score. Joseph forgave them and said, in essence, “Your hateful action worked in my favor”.
Might Joseph have missed all his wonderful and blessed opportunities if he harbored resentment in his heart for his brothers all those years? It would appear that scorekeepers or people who think evil hinder themselves. Is it possible to be so consumed with evening the score that you cut off your own desires, dreams, destinies or delicate and intimate relationships? Are you missing the present and future by living in the past? It might be time to take the advice of any sporting or athletic coach and forget about the last play, game or score. Live in the now: play the game at hand!
You may not forget the wrong that has been done against you. In fact, I’m sure you will not; but while you remember you can also forgive and move on. It is your life which is held up when you keep score.
Prayer: Lord give me the strength to forgive like you and to release those who have wronged me. I no longer want to keep score, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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