Yesterday I had a great time eating lunch with one of my good friends Robin Viray and we were sharing about how easy it is to become offended by someone. Offense is so common in relationships. And, no relationship is exempt from offense. It happens in families, marriages, friendships, at churches, between bosses and employees, and between coworkers.
People get offended for all types of things: how someone looked at them, something someone said, something someone did or didn’t do. And, what is just as common as offense is the record of wrong, the list you keep in your head and heart with a file for each person you know. It’s almost as if you have a file cabinet in our heart and when offense happens you pull out the file and add to the list the wrong the person committed.
The wrong list often leads you to put people in the little black box, the box you subject people to in your mind and heart when they have offended you. You put them there because you don’t want them to hurt you anymore. You shove them in there when you don’t want to think about them. You only bring them out to mentally beat the mess out of them and then you put them back in and everything seems good right? Wrong.
Keeping a list of wrongs helps nothing! It leads you to imprison people in you heart and mind. Worse, it actually leads you to imprison yourself to those people by making you subject to constant pain every time you think about what he or she did to you. Still, people love keeping a record of wrongs because they thinks it protects them. But, does it really?
As Robin and I continued to talk he said, “We need to start keeping a record of rights.”
Have you ever thought about keeping a record of rights? A record that keeps track of all the good things people have done for you? What about intentionally writing down, adding it to your mental file, and verbally acknowledging people for all the good they have done to you and for you.
Focusing on how people have hurt you keeps you focused on what does not work. But, focusing on how people have added value to your life, blessed you, or encouraged you propels both you and them to do more of it.
No one wants to be held captive for what they didn’t do right. But, people feel empowered when they are applauded and acknowledged for what they did right. What you feed is what will grow. You need to choke out the negative and feed the positive. Starve the mess out of the negative behavior, words, looks, and responses, but praise the mess out of the good stuff.
At night, while we’re laying in bed getting ready to pass out my wife will often turn to me and ask, “Can you tell me good things?” What she is really asking is, “Have you been keeping a record of rights? Can you tell me what you see in me that is good and where I have been doing well?”
My wife wants to know I intentionally observe the good she has done, her efforts, and her progress. She wants to hear the record of rights I have been keeping on her. And, she has a huge record of rights!
Whether it is in your marriage, on your job, or on your team I encourage you to start keeping a record of rights. If you’re a boss, take time to intentionally acknowledge the good your team is doing. If you’re a spouse, take time to observe and share with your spouse all the good things you have observed from him or her. If you’re on a team, take a moment to share with you team members all the good they have been accomplishing. As my friend Robin reminded me, “Love keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5).
Love keeps a record of rights.
Let’s Do This Together
In what relationship do you need to get rid of the record of wrongs and start keeping a record of rights?