Recently I spent an entire day helping someone. I spent a tremendous amount of energy caring for three children, one dog, and two houses, coordinating logistics, driving back and forth, helping with swim lessons, supervising a play date, and serving at church.
Late in the day, as I started to get tired, I made an error in judgment. No one was harmed, nothing was damaged, it was no big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it did make someone feel uncomfortable. I apologized to that person and all was forgiven, so, end of story, right?
Not so much.
Even though I had done so much good all day long, and such important work in keeping children safe and sound, only one thing seemed to matter.
It felt like a dozen demons were circling above my head, all pointing at me and reminding me that I made a mistake. No matter how hard I had tried all day, that one negative seemed to completely overshadow all the positives.
Historically, I am prone to try to seek approval and affirmation through achievements, because that is the only place I found worth or value growing up. But when you “keep score,” seeking validation through the good things you do, that system also requires you to be condemned when you fail.
Works don’t work because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Even the most ascetic person will at some time make a mistake, and standing on your accomplishments is like building your house on sand – the next big wave will wash everything away.
Hence, the need for grace. Jesus came to abolish our sin debt, and therefore there is now NO condemnation for those in Christ. None. Not now, not ever.
So, rather than keeping score of works that don’t work, thank God for His inestimable gift of grace. Next time the enemy tries to tell you that you failed, tell him that he has already lost because Jesus has overcome the world!