God Isn’t Keeping Score!

I have chosen this quote from Ephesians because it speaks to the broad reach of God’s grace. This excerpt is from a letter that Paul the Apostle wrote with the specific purpose of unifying the early church in Ephesus. It seems that one of the problems was that the Ephesians were keeping score. Paul addresses boasting about good works, which certainly could become a source of conflict within any community when it comes to opinions and concepts of righteousness.

"this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God"

I am repeatedly surprised to find out that God isn’t keeping score. Over the past six months, I have circled back to this concept as a core philosophy of my ministry. Grace is free. Forgiveness is abundant. I don’t feel like I deserve infinite grace and forgiveness, and yet I continue to receive it. It is a nice surprise that I wish I afforded myself more frequently.

Give yourself a break...

The idea that God isn’t keeping score is a vital truth that can be helpful to anyone with a mental health condition, addiction, or anyone searching for a deeper faith. I meet addicts who feel shackled to their past actions and see themselves as inferior to folks who’ve never struggled with addiction. My discussions with people who live with a mental health condition often circle back to long-held beliefs that they are lesser than people who’ve never encountered a psychiatric challenge. As a pastor, I discuss beliefs with people who deem their faith as secondary to their own peers because they assume others are more devoted than they are and thus closer to God. Sometimes, my primary job as a pastor is to dispel the myths and fallacies that I just listed. Other times I need to seek my own spiritual guidance in order to break free from the problems that I help others with.

If you forgot what grace is this is your reminder!

Understanding and embracing that God isn’t keeping score forms the foundation from which all theological and ethical discussions that I have begin. Consider this like the starting point in a board game or a reset button on a video game console. Before I wade into the deeper spiritual waters with an individual, I have to remind the people I pastor and journey with to cut loose the heavy weight of shame and receive the free and unmerited gift of God’s grace. The best part about this perspective is that you can always reset to square one with God. No matter how bad you think you are and regardless of what score you have put up on your own scoreboard, I guarantee that God can reset it in an instant.

Make sure to comment below and join the conversation!

Seth Perry

Seth Perry

ELCA Pastor -Devotional Blogger- Mental Health Recovery Educator-Living Well with Bipolar Type 1


22 Responses

  1. I was always reminded by a wise Grandmother that “people who keep score in life are NEVER happy”. SO true.

  2. The theology of grace is so amazing and so difficult to live by! It’s all of our call to uplift this in a world (and our lives) where everything else pushes this down. Thx!

  3. Pastor Seth, I continue to appreciate your fresh thinking and interpretation of the scriptures from the perspective of one who deals with issues of mental health on a daily basis, much like myself. My God continue to bless your ministry, brother!

  4. I continue to learn from you, Seth Perry. You have been so generous in sharing a perspective from the inside of living with bipolar and recovery. Spending time within a group or community where grace is recognized and received must have a role here. Grace opens us to one another.

  5. The greatest gift I ever received from a pastor was the clear and resounding message that we are saved by grace. It came to me decades ago from Pastor George Cruys, who died recently. At his funeral that message kept ringing. through my head and you have just reinforced it. Thank you.

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Human nature inclines us to tally our faults. Yet in matters of spirituality, we may find it surprising that God doesn't maintain a scorecard. Take a moment to read this devotion and grant yourself some grace.