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Keeping the Right Lists
By Victoria Osteen - Sep 02, 2010
At every Lakewood service, we have prayer time. During this portion of the service, members and visitors can pray one-on-one with one of the 500 volunteers who serve as prayer partners. Both Joel and I are prayer partners, and each of us will pray for two or three people during this portion of each service.

I remember one particular Saturday night service when a woman who was about 50 years old came up to me and asked that I pray for her marriage. She told me that her husband had always been hard to live with, but he had become even more so lately. She recited two or three of his most current offenses, and then to my surprise, she handed me three sheets of notebook paper. She said, "Read this. It is a list of the things he has done just in the last two weeks." I opened the pages to see listed one offense after the other scribbled in various colors of ink and pencil. "He's done all this in just two weeks?" I asked.

"Yes," she said. "I didn't think anyone would believe me so I have been writing them down."

"Why so many colors of ink?" I asked.

"Well," she said, "I write them down as quickly as I can so I won't forget them, and I grab the first pen or pencil I can find. If I wait too long, I'll forget."

After I prayed for her, I thought, wouldn't her life be so much better if she did forget? We all have times when we are disappointed in relationships, and we all have times when we disappoint others. Whenever someone disappoints you or does not meet your expectations, you have a choice to either dwell on those disappointments or overlook them. However, if you really want to succeed in your relationship, there is a third choice. Instead of focusing on that person's shortcomings, immediately find something about them that exceeds your expectations. Most of the time, you will find dozens of good qualities in that person and only a few things that irritate you. When those irritations come up, remind yourself of all the good things and focus on the benefits of being in a healthy relationship.

After the same service in which I prayed for this woman, another prayer partner in our ministry approached me and asked, "Did I see you pray for a woman today with a list of things her husband has done wrong?"

"Yes," I said. "Do you know her?"

"I prayed for her Wednesday night," he responded. "She showed me the same list. It has inspired me to keep a list concerning my wife."

I was surprised to hear him say this. I knew he and his wife pretty well and always thought they had a good relationship. For a moment, I was unsure about how to respond. "Oh?" I said, searching for the right thing to say. "Surely, she doesn't do that much wrong."

"No, she doesn't," he said. "But when she does, I am going to pull out a different list. My list is going to have all of the things I love about her and all the things she does that makes my life easier."

Today, choose to meditate on the good things in your relationships. Choose to overlook offense. Give grace when people make mistakes. Remember, what you pour into your relationships is what you will receive in return. When you keep the right lists you are setting the tone for healthy connections and a loving future the way God intends.

Love…keeps no record of wrongs (I Corinthians 13:4-5, NIV).
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