"One… two… three…," I counted as I moved across the grass, bending repeatedly to retrieve the empty pop cans now squished flat after my son and his friend had gleefully ridden their go-cart over them the evening before. I'd stood at the window that night, watching them litter the lawn with the aluminum containers that they used for obstacles to drive around and targets to aim at, the boys relishing the resounding crunch each time one of them was smashed by a wheel.
Darkness had dropped too quickly for them to clean up the cans that night, and my son's early work schedule prevented him from completing the task before he left home the next day. The need to cut the grass before his return that evening forced me to perform the pickup duties myself. I tallied the cans as I gathered them, so that I could later impress upon my son the magnitude of the work I'd done for him.
Suddenly the Lord stopped me, instructing me to pick up the rest without counting how many of them there were. As I did so He reminded me that He hadn't kept track of the number of times He'd had to forgive me that day. Neither had He counted the minutes He'd hung on the cross for my sins. After all, it was a lot easier to use my hands to pick up a few cans than to have the same stretched across the beam of a cross and nailed to the splintered wood beneath them.
The next time I'm tempted to record another's wrongs I'll remember instead to count the ways my Savior loves me, and offer a little mercy myself as a result.
"Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?"