Keeping Score - A Spiritual Revelation


#1

This morning, during my 11th Step, I was (as usual) praying the Rosary. During the 2nd decade I heard the whisper of a thought (not my own) in my head - “Stop keeping score”.

It dawned on me that conciously or not I often have a tendency to keep score with the people in my life - they did that and this to me, this or that for me, this or that with me. I conciously, or not, have a tendency to keep score with my own actions - I did this or that to them, this or that for them or with them, as the case may be - and that this kind of mental score keeping can affect my relationships.

Now, in my spiritual practices, it is necessary for me to do a 10th step every evening…in fact, throughout my day if I can remember to do so, but every evening at the very least I must review my day. I must look for times when I was selfish, self-seeking, dishonest or acted out of self-centered fear. If I owe anyone an apology I need to make it as soon as possible. If I owe anyone an amends I must do so as soon as possible. I must also be willing to look at what I did right that day, and give thanks to God for getting me through that day. But that ends it and so that kind of score keeping is not what I mean.

So what I realized, instead, is that I can without realizing I am doing it keep a scorecard of what others do and don’t do, to and for me, and then act accordingly - and so the challenge becomes being able to act from love towards people irregardless of how they behave towards me.

During the season of Advent, this will be my spiritual challenge. Has anyone else met this challenge successfully; could you share your experiences, please?


#2

Leslie:

Thank you for sharing this insight. I always enjoy and spiritually benefit from each and every post you make. This is something I need to work on as well.


#3

[quote=LSK]…
So what I realized, instead, is that I can without realizing I am doing it keep a scorecard of what others do and don’t do, to and for me, and then act accordingly - and so the challenge becomes being able to act from love towards people irregardless of how they behave towards me.

During the season of Advent, this will be my spiritual challenge. Has anyone else met this challenge successfully; could you share your experiences, please?
[/quote]

If you can’t stop keeping track of pluses and minuses, then simply decide in your heart (for the glory of God) to make the minuses worth a plus. This can be accepted if you realize that God allows someone who has chosen evil to be used by Him to put His saints under trial and merit a reward for showing virtue in response. Thus, count any ill act done towards you as a plus because it still helped you. This requires faith to see that God turns evil for the good in a glorious manner. (You can see this in the lives of martyrs who thanked their persecutors for the crown being obtained through them). You will become thankful to your worst enemy :slight_smile:

hurst


#4

this reminds me of the “points systems” that many marriages (like mine, formerly) run on. DH gets so many points for unloading the dishwasher or DW gets so many points for getting hubby tickets to the hockey game and encouraging him to go with friends, DH gets more points for taking the kids to soccer practice. Of course a lot of the cash-in of the chips happens in the bedroom. A lot of couples do operate this way and it becomes very damaging in a lot of ways. Partly because the wife and the husband disagree about the relative point value of different acts, but mostly because it destroys the dymanic of Christ and his bride, the Church as a model for marriage.


#5

Point system? Where is that from?


#6

This is excellent revelation, because “keeping score” is the basic worldly barter system.

In God’s kingdom, we don’t do things because we are expected to or because we owe someone, we do them because we can.

To me, this is the blessing of stewardship. Jesus referred to this many times. Give to those who cannot pay you back. Well, the opposite of that is we should be willing to accept gifts from someone without plan – or even hope at times – for paying back. Simply accept them as gifts because the giver wanted to give. If we don’t understand that, then like most people we think pleasing God is like pleasing our teachers – we have to do so many good works to “pass our class” and get into heaven.

Anything done out of obligation is not stewardship.

Alan


#7

[quote=AlanFromWichita]This is excellent revelation, because “keeping score” is the basic worldly barter system.

In God’s kingdom, we don’t do things because we are expected to or because we owe someone, we do them because we can.

To me, this is the blessing of stewardship. Jesus referred to this many times. Give to those who cannot pay you back. Well, the opposite of that is we should be willing to accept gifts from someone without plan – or even hope at times – for paying back. Simply accept them as gifts because the giver wanted to give. If we don’t understand that, then like most people we think pleasing God is like pleasing our teachers – we have to do so many good works to “pass our class” and get into heaven.

Anything done out of obligation is not stewardship.

Alan
[/quote]

What a great way of putting it, Alan. If something is done because we HAVE to do it, how can it truly be an act of stewardship! FABULOUS insight…yet if it is something that flows from the heart of Jesus, truly an act of love, then it can hardly become something on a scoreboard…


#8

[quote=puzzleannie]this reminds me of the “points systems” that many marriages (like mine, formerly) run on. DH gets so many points for unloading the dishwasher or DW gets so many points for getting hubby tickets to the hockey game and encouraging him to go with friends, DH gets more points for taking the kids to soccer practice. Of course a lot of the cash-in of the chips happens in the bedroom. A lot of couples do operate this way and it becomes very damaging in a lot of ways. Partly because the wife and the husband disagree about the relative point value of different acts, but mostly because it destroys the dymanic of Christ and his bride, the Church as a model for marriage.
[/quote]

It can also be applied to other family relationships, I guess, right? I think of those of us who are not married but are part of the family of Christ. We would look at how we might inadvertantly use that same point system when we shouldn’t to our ‘spiritual marriages’, thereby missing the incredibly love experience we could have with one another…


#9

Great food for thought - thanks for posting it!


#10

[quote=LSK]What a great way of putting it, Alan. If something is done because we HAVE to do it, how can it truly be an act of stewardship! FABULOUS insight…yet if it is something that flows from the heart of Jesus, truly an act of love, then it can hardly become something on a scoreboard…
[/quote]

Actually, I think we should keep in mind the distinction between an obligation to another person and the obligation to our master.

In fact, we are obligated to be good stewards, and St. Paul noted that he was obligated to preach or woe is he. In fact, every hair on our heads is counted. God is keeping track of everything, and He will reward everyone according to their conduct. God is just.

But we cannot let the score of someone toward us be the basis for our actions. We have to look at the score between us and God. And since there is such a huge gap, then no matter how much we do for other ungrateful wretches, it won’t compare with what God has done for us. So we cannot do enough, yet we must do all we can.

In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with keeping score as long as we are fair and keep in mind our score with God - for that will help us keep things in proper perspective.

hurst


#11

The one who keeps score loses.


#12

[quote=LSK]What a great way of putting it, Alan. If something is done because we HAVE to do it, how can it truly be an act of stewardship! FABULOUS insight…yet if it is something that flows from the heart of Jesus, truly an act of love, then it can hardly become something on a scoreboard…
[/quote]

Wow I just got the opposite defense, as I rehashed old tales of my anxious moments on the stewardship committee, having been trained in it (thus I can’t claim credit directly for this insight as it was a gift – it is truly insight however for it shook me up too).

Even the person who robs you of stewardship by accounting for it and insisting you receive worldly rewards, including being saved from that robber’s own judgment, is in his own mind, only giving you “credit.” If he only knew what you knew, he would also know that this credit is only based on observed facts.

Therefore if we give special gifts to people in form of worldly gifts, that does in fact rob heaven of its obligation to laud this person. However, even this heavenly lauding could involve spiritual lust so it humbles us, makes us more in touch with mortal life (Tempus Fugit Momento Mori) and keeps us mindful that our time must be well spent, and such gifts from the world are curses in a way, but also tools to be used for His glory.

I’m getting way off track. I’d better stop. When I get like this it usually means it’s time for my medication because they say I have loose connections and pressured speech. :frowning:

I don’t want to delete it because someone might figure out part of it and I’m sure put it into terms that makes sense a heckuva lot. To me, the more obviuos I try to make things the more people go berserk, so it’s with trepidation that I even dare chip into my cloacking devices. Honestly I must get some very worldly things done and the punishment is increasnig by the minute I delay, so blah, I’m sorry for running on so. I get defensive I think because I used to be misunderstood. Now it seems like I’m more afraid I will be understood than misunderstood because whenever someone takes my side it seems to cause them separation from their friends, and I can’t understand when I’m just trying to see how people are actually united in ways that artificial barriers do not mask. :confused:

Alan


#13

I do understand what you mean. How would this tie in, however, with forgiving someone’s actions but deciding you do not want that person to be a part of your life? I don’t think those kind of decisions are inappropriate in certain circumstances at all - but do we run the risk, at times, of making those kind of decisions and overlooking an opportunity to serve disagreeable people and suffer for Christ? Or would I run the risk of putting myself in the position of wanting someone to notice what a great gal I am, serving this nasty, wretched beast of a person with such loving Christian Charity?


#14

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.