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By Jeremy Lopez
It was 9:00pm on a Sunday night. Our group project was due the next morning. For weeks I'd waited on one particular member's part. After asking repeatedly, I completed his portion for him and submitted the project.
What did I do when he texted me at the last minute to say he was at the library and was going to work all night to do his part? I told him to go for it. I let him work all night, even though the project had long been completed.
In my mind he deserved to slave all night to complete a project I already had to finish myself. Go ahead—waste an entire night working hard for nothing. It was justice in my mind.
I tried for weeks to get him to participate. To think of him working late through the wee hours to do his part, getting refill after refill of stale coffee, for it not to be included in the final presentation, was sweet revenge.
I'm generally not a confrontational person. Even when slightly bullied in sixth grade, I found a passive aggressive way of getting back at my enemy...
I knew our gym class always followed lunch. He would have his lunchbox with him as we all waited to leave. After careful observation, I noticed he always left his trash in the lunchbox.
I carefully unzipped his lunchbox while waiting to leave gym class. When the bell rang he stood up to leave. His lunchbox flung open as he grabbed it, and all of the remnants of his lunch flew over the gym floor. I watched from afar as he cleaned up the mess.
I think it's a natural human tendency to keep score in our minds.
We find all sorts of way to even the playing field when we don't get our way or believe someone has taken advantage of us. You know what doesn't work in a relationship? Keeping a scorecard. Whether it's your friend, coworker, relative, or spouse, save yourself a lot of heartache, and throw out the scorecard.
I don't feel like a just judge when I look back at the group project member or the middle school bully. I look back with clarity I couldn't have had in the moment—both people were dealing with things I didn't understand.
I don't find more intimacy with Lacie if I make it a point to keep up with whose done what around the house (she always does more, for the record). I move into deeper levels of relationship when I look for more and more ways to serve her better.
Grace is more than a word that rhymes with a lot of other words in Christian music.
I think Jesus's upside-down, backwards model of grace is still one of the most scandalous, progressive, beautiful principles for existing in life-giving relationships. It goes against our entitled, self-righteous, self-centered ways of thinking.
Give another chance. Forgive when it hurts. Forgive again. And again. Go two miles when asked to go one. Outdo one another in good works. And throw away the dang scorecard.
Even Jesus, when asked what to do with the adulterer, instead of looking up at her in her shame, he knelt and kept his eyes towards the ground, writing in the dirt. He didn't devise a plan. He didn't release a verdict.
He asked anyone who was without sin to go ahead and execute justice. No one was stoned that day. The rocks fell to the ground. It's time to drop yours, too. It's easier to walk through life when you aren't carrying all that weight.