What Are You Keeping Record Of?
By Victoria Osteen - May 26, 2009
At every Lakewood Cchurch service, we have a dedicated time when members and visitors can pray one-on-one with one of our 500 volunteers who serve as prayer partners. Both Joel and I are prayer partners, and we’ll pray for two or three people during the prayer time in each service. I remember on one particular Saturday night, a woman who was about fifty 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, and even more so lately. She recited two or three of her grievances, 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 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? Anytime someone disappoints you or does not meet your expectations, you have the 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: you can choose to look past the other person’s shortcomings and immediately find something in them that exceeds your expectations! Most of the time, you will find dozens of good qualities in a person and only a few things that irritate you. Then, when those irritations come up, remind yourself of all the good things that person brings to your life and focus on the benefits of being in a healthy relationship. Just after this particular church service, I ran into Richard, another prayer partner in our ministry. He 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 inspired me to keep a list concerning Lisa.” I was surprised to hear Richard say this because I always thought he and his wife, Lisa had good relationship. For a moment, I wasn’t sure how to respond. “Oh?” I said, searching for the right thing to say. “Surely, Lisa doesn’t do that much wrong,.” “No, she really doesn’t,” he said. “But when she does, I am going to begin keeping a list. But my list is going to have all of the things I love about her and all the ways she blesses my life…and, I am going to write them down as soon as I think of them, and I’m going to use the first pen I can find.” “So you won’t forget them?” I asked. “So I won’t forget them,” he answered. I loved Richard’s approach—especially that he drew such a good lesson from such a sad situation. How much better can our relationships be by keeping record of the benefits rather than the shortcomings? Love keeps no record of wrongs (I Corinthians 13:5, para).