Listen to the Mustn'ts, child,
listen to the Don'ts.
Listen to the Shouldn'ts,
the Impossibles, the Won'ts.
Listen to the Never Haves,
then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be.
from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (1974)
When the world is giving you more than you think you can handle…
When you’re ready to say, “Enough already!”…
God says, “Listen close to me. All things are possible through my love.”
I cry out to you from the depths, Lord— my Lord, listen to my voice! Let your ears pay close attention to my request for mercy! If you kept track of sins, Lord— my Lord, who would stand a chance? But forgiveness is with you— that’s why you are honored.
A nine-year-old boy I know keeps a list titled, “Mean Stuff My Sister Said or Did to Me.” Most of the things on the list seem harmless: ate the last cookie, beat me at Uno, wouldn’t share the iPad, poked me in the eye, etc. He said it was important to know who was better, him or his sister. He is serious about this list and keeping score.
Aren’t we glad God isn’t keeping a list like that for us? God forgives us when we poke people in the eye – and for all the other things that are on our own list of mistakes, bad choices, and sins. Whew! For this I am deeply thankful.
God doesn’t keep score with us, and we shouldn’t do it with each other. We have enough to do without keeping track of how our sister or brother has hurt us. Get rid of whatever list or score sheet you’re keeping. Allow yourself to forgive someone when they’ve hurt you. And forgive yourself when you’ve hurt someone. Keeping score is for sports, not people.
Thank you for not holding my mistakes against me, God. Thank you for not keeping score. Thank you for always forgiving me and for reminding me that I am good enough just the way I am. Amen.
Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The light and love of God is enough to conquer all darkness, hate, and fear.
Today, and every day, walk through your life trusting in the power of God’s love.