When you go to a baseball game, how do you know who is winning?
Or how do you know at the end of the game which team has won?
That’s right! You look at the scoreboard at the other end of the field.
You know that the team with the most points has won.
The same thing happens when you play a certain board game or cards with your friends and family. Can you think of examples of games in which the player or team with the most points at the end of the game wins?
I can think of some games where a score is kept. Like:
Can you think of any others?
We all like to do well and we like to win. In most games, to win, you must keep score. Jesus teaches us about one area of our lives where it is not necessary to keep score.
Peter, a disciple, asked Jesus, “Lord, how often do I forgive someone who has hurt me? Should I forgive them as many as seven times?”
(To forgive is to give up your anger against someone who has hurt you.)
Jesus said to him, “I’m telling you that you have to forgive not just seven times, but seventy times seven times.” I think you would agree that seventy-seven times is a lot! It would be difficult for us to keep score long enough to forgive seventy-seven times.
When Peter is sincerely asking Jesus how often we need to forgive someone; Jesus is essentially saying, “Don’t Keep Score!” Jesus teaches us that we want to forgive many times, even more times than we think we can. So, how do we do that?
We forgive because we have been forgiven. God offers the gift of forgiveness to each one of us, forgiving us when we are hurtful and make bad choices. Accepting God’s love and forgiveness allows us to forgive others who make bad choices and hurt us.
Being able to forgive is a gift you give to yourself and it’s a gift you give to the other person who has done something hurtful.
Jesus teaches: Don’t Keep Score. Be willing to forgive over and over and over again. Then everyone wins.
The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog