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Keeping Score

God has been speaking to me these last couple of days about forgiveness. Or rather, the sin of withholding forgiveness. Oh, how difficult it is to accept someone's apology and forgive them. Sure. I have told someone I accept their apology; but, don't think I am not keeping score in the back of my mind and in that dark little corner of my heart. You know--just so I am on alert for the next time, because I know there could be a next time. Then, in revival this week I listened to the preacher read and dissect the Lord's Prayer.

"...and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." Matthew 6:12, ESV

Digging into a bit more scripture, I read:

"'And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.'" John 20:22-23, ESV

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace" Ephesians 1:7, ESV

"then he adds, 'I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.' Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin." Hebrews 10:17-18, ESV

I can make excuses all day long that while I strive to be more Christ-like, I am not Christ and, therefore, cannot be expected to be as perfect as He is. So, my attitude towards the ones who hurt me is perfectly natural. I am human after all. However, when I hold onto the bitterness and keep score of wrongs done against me, I am elevating myself above Christ. I am in essence saying that while Christ's blood was shed to cover my sin and the sins of all who call upon Him and accept His salvation, His mercy, His grace, I do not have to show mercy or grace to others. Is a wrong done against me really more costly than the wrongs (sins) done against the Holy Trinity? No!

There are many more references in scripture where sins have been forgiven, all by the shedding of blood. Whether the blood was of an animal in the Old Testament, or of the Son of God in the New Testament. I haven't had to shed a drop of my own blood to cover my sins or anyone else's. God has commanded me (and you) to forgive others their debts (sins); therefore, when I keep on checking that scoreboard, failing to show grace and mercy, I am sinning against God in my rebellion. Every time I allow a conversation to steer towards "let me tell you what so-and-so did to me...", I am sinning, not just against the one I am speaking ill of, but against God.

So, if my prayers seem to be bouncing off the ceiling, and I think to myself, "I confessed my sins, so why am I not gaining in my communication with the Father? It could very well be because I keep recounting the wrongs of others against me. This is hindering my communion with God.

Not only is my relationship with my Father hindered, but resentment and anger affects the immune system. Go ahead. Do a quick little Google search of "Can holding onto anger cause health problems?" You will see illnesses named in study-after-study where anger causes depression, heart conditions, immune deficiencies, anxiety, digestive issues, and more.

So, if you have wronged someone--confess it to them, ask forgiveness, and lay it at Christ's feet.

If someone has wronged you--forgive them. Move on! Turn off the scoreboard! Get back to living in communion with God. What are you waiting for?

Thank you, Lord, for the blood You shed so that I can live free of sin's bondage. Thank you for showing me the weaknesses of my flesh that are my very sin nature, the sins in my heart that keep me from Your presence. Help me to forgive others and to not hold grudges. No more keeping score, Lord. Thank you, Lord, for not keeping score! Thank you for Your grace and mercy! Just as You have forgiven me, give me the strength to forgive others so that Your grace and Your mercy may be seen in and through me. In Jesus' precious and holy name, Amen.

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