We are people who keep records, sometimes even when we don't need to. We make to-do lists, and we follow up on them!
We keep track of to whom we sent, and from whom we received, Christmas cards - for the last ten years.
We keep diaries, maintain journals, record household budgets, and fill out planners which track doctors, dentists, hair cuts, and a dozen and one other appointments.
We are folks who know how to keep records. And yet ... there are times when it is better if we do not.
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The gift we selected with real care and thoughtfulness about the recipient's favorite colors and style of decor; and for which we never received even a passing "thanks." How to overlook this?
The phone call we did receive, but which by the time it ended, we could not help but wish we had never picked up the receiver. The unkind words, the hurtful attitude. How to erase the pain?
The reward, or award, which we earned after hard work, genuine sacrifice, and obstacles overcome; but which went, nevertheless, to another. How to move past it?
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians a passage which came to be known as the "love chapter" of the New Testament. In it he instructs them that love "keeps no record of wrongs."
In an entirely different kind of script, in one of my favorite baseball movies (For The Love of the Game with Kevin Costner) the star pitcher reminds himself of something his father always told him to do, when needing to clear his mind and adopt a clean slate before the next pitch: Clear the mechanism.
If he was to play at his best, give all he had to give, he must first clear the mechanism.
This meant letting go of any resentment over how the plate umpire may have called - or blown - the call on the previous pitch.
It meant forgetting about any interpersonal issues he might have with other players on the field.
It meant ignoring whatever physical pain he was enduring due to old, lingering injuries.
It meant ignoring the crowd noise, whether jeers or cheers.
Clear the mechanism.
Keep no record of wrongs.
It is certainly easier said than done. We nurse our wounds, we succor our pain, we avoid those who have hurt us. We do these things because we are keeping a record - when what we should be doing is clearing the mechanism.
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Dear Lord, help me tonight to allow you to clear the mechanism that is my faulty record keeping. Help me to remember that I, too, have wounded others, overlooked a tenderly offered gift, spoken hasty words which caused another pain.
I want to perform to the best of my ability, give all I have to give. Help me to allow you to clear the mechanism.
Help me to keep no record of wrongs.
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Hope you are in a good clear place this evening. But if, perchance, like mine, your mechanism could use a good clearing ... well, you know who to call on. Until next time, your flawed but thankful fellow traveler ~ Marsha