Scorekeepers - September 17, 2017
I know nothing about baseball but I was interested to read about Darryl Wilson in Chicago. He’s the man who sits inside the baseball scoreboard. He constantly updates the score - of games up and down the country - with metal numbers and letters constantly being changed. Keeping score sounds physically more demanding than I thought but it’s harder still inside that scoreboard where it’s 10-20 degrees hotter than outside.
There may be occasions when we are tempted to keep score ourselves. Usually on occasions and in places where the temperature has been rising. When we feel the need - justifiably or otherwise - to blame others, seek justice, redress or even compensation. Jesus was once asked by his disciples how often they should forgive. The rabbis said three times; the disciples suggested seven times. Jesus said seventy times seven. In other words, you do not keep score.
The problem with that has been the popular assumption that forgiveness is somehow weak. You let people off the hook, you let them get away with stuff. You might even be letting them think they can repeatedly do the same and there are no consequences. You put justice on the backburner. However that is not what forgiveness is about. It’s a way of imagining and establishing a new future, but to be complete it has to be received and welcomed as well as offered.
Forgiveness is never an easy option. It’s often a costly one and the heat it generates may be even greater than that inside Darryl Wilson’s scoreboard. The starting point for us is not how often we forgive but how much we have been forgiven. There may well be occasions where we say enough is enough or a line has been crossed. That does not abrogate us from accepting the challenge of Jesus to live in and by the forgiveness of God. After all that’s one of his gifts to us.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, if my brother keeps on sinning against me, how many times do I have to forgive him? Seven times?”
“No, not seven times,” answered Jesus, “but seventy times seven.
Lord, help me not to keep score of slights and wrongs, and if I cannot stop counting entirely you’d make make sure I do better at counting my blessings. Amen