Keeping Relational Score


“We are not held back by love we didn’t receive in the past, but by the love we’re not extending in the present.” – Marianne Williamson

A strategy for introducing data collection to primary students is to teach them about tally marks.  Reading and interpreting bar graphs and picture graphs are complex skills so tally marks serves as a simple way to introduce students into the world of record keeping.

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As we progress in life, the data we keep becomes more complex.  It’s not just about our favorite ice cream or our favorite pet.  We keep financial records, records of attendance, and scores in the games we play.

What happens when we keeps scores in our relationships? We keep so-called tally marks of right or wrong actions and behavior of others.  This person offended me or this one hurt my feelings and we log the hurt or offense in our mental record book.

Which each tally mark we make, the offense turns into resentment.  The resentment turns into anger.  The anger turns into bitterness and over time, the anger can become hatred.  Eventually, the relationship is dissolved and both parties walk away losing their investments.

As I began to seek guidance on how to handle the damage of keeping relational score, I found the article Love Keeps No Records of Wrongs. It was interesting to know that Naomi in the book of Ruth struggled with this very topic.  The article explains Naomi’s actions in this way,

Some people are so invested in their bitterness against others for wrongs done that you cannot talk to them without them giving you a history lesson. They give you all the reasons they are justified to feel the way they do – like Naomi in the book of Ruth. Life turned in hard directions for her; so much so that she changed her name to Mara. Mara means bitter.

We are not perfect people and we don’t live in a perfect world.  We will be offended and misunderstood, but I take heart in knowing that grace and mercy abounds and love has no need for keeping score.

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7


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