Earn a Demerit

You didn’t earn a merit point. In fact, what you did earned the opposite–a demerit.

What do we know about God? And about humans? We know that humans earn a demerit from God quite easily. It’s almost as if we cannot breathe without doing or thinking something that violates God’s high standards that will earn us another demerit.

That is why the endless efforts to devise lists of rules for others to follow so that we have a scorecard that shows some are better (us) and some are worse (them) is worse than useless.

God doesn’t look at some cosmic scoreboard and say, “Well, done. We scored 1 demerit and they scored 10. I declare we the winner.”

Some people think, “I don’t even need a scoreboard. I know how good I am. I don’t score by 1’s, my scores wouldn’t add up to 1 over a month.”

Others think there is no need to keep score because there’s no way I can win.

But God says, “Hold on there, people. Throw away that scoreboard. Even if you score 0.01, you lose. But I’m not participating in that game. That’s just you silly humans trying to divide yourselves into groups. I have something that is a different game. It’s called grace. And mercy. And I invite you into a new game in my kingdom where we don’t keep score.”

And when you decide to play a new game you become aware of your own demerits, ask forgiveness from God and those whom you’ve offended, and then live a new kind of life where you don’t keep score–you just love.

When I first learned Jesus songs back in the folk song days, I learned this one. It goes, “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love; yes, they will know we are Christians by our love.”

[For reference, try reading the Letter to the Romans straight through to get the breadth of the argument Paul makes.]

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