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A Musing on Report Cards 3-22-2023

“Help, God—I’ve hit rock bottom! Master, hear my cry for help!

Listen hard! Open your ears!

Listen to my cries for mercy.

If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings, who would stand a chance?

As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that’s why you’re worshiped.

I pray to God—my life a prayer— and wait for what he’ll say and do.

My life’s on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning.

O Israel, wait and watch for God— with God’s arrival comes love, with God’s arrival comes generous redemption.

No doubt about it—he’ll redeem Israel,

buy back Israel from captivity to sin.

Psalms 130:1-8 The Message

A Musing on Report Cards 3-22-2023

One of the activities that I get to do several times a year in my job as an assistant principal is reviewing report cards from several grade levels that are going home. I’m not really checking for grades as much as I am checking to be sure that all of the boxes are filled in and that the computer didn’t print anything crazy, like giving someone an average of 162 for their report card grade.

As I was doing this recently, I got a text from my oldest daughter, who was asking me if I was watching a game that she was doing the scoreboard for down at Georgia Tech. It seems an Intense conversation was going on in the press box about whether a particular play was a hit or an error. She was curious if I had an opinion, and since I wasn’t watching the game, I did not. Sorry, I don’t know the outcome of the decision of hit or error.

Later that evening, I received an e-mail from my boss saying that my mid-year evaluation was posted and that I needed to review it and sign off that it had been received and let her know if I had any questions. For anyone who cares, I still have a job as an assistant principal.

All of this got me thinking about how much we keep score in our world. And I am not just talking about sporting events. Some of the scores are written down - like report cards or statistics or job evaluations. Others we keep internally like “is it my turn to invite a friend over for dinner” or “what kind of a gift should I send this person based upon what they sent me.” Sometimes people keep score to one-up another person. Often we keep score over “being done right or being done wrong.” We keep up with what we think we are owed or what we believe we owe to someone else.

All of this got me thinking about what would happen if God kept score and sent down a report card. I don’t want to think of the number of unsatisfactory or needs improvement scores that might show up. And I certainly am not sure I’d want to look at any letter grade or comments.

Fortunately for us, that is not what God does. God does not keep score or collect data for a cosmic report card. God looks at us with a love that makes no sense and is certainly undeserved. By God’s mercy, you and I are not graded by the bad in us but by the best in God.

It’s something that the Pharisees and even today’s church struggles with because such love and grace seem too good to be true. And based on the world’s standards perhaps it is and as such perhaps that is part of what faith is all about, believing news too good to be true actually is true.

However, thanks be to God, it is because if not - well I simply don’t want to imagine my final grade if not for Jesus.

Have a blessed week.

Clay Gunter 3/22/2023


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