Mother’s Day is increasingly becoming one of the more difficult holidays. With all of the commercials, advertisements, and media coverage of moms, it is easy to buy into the idea that we are abnormal if we had a strained relationship with our mother.

But when we cut through all the commercialism, what we actually find is a broken road of tattered and torn relationships between mothers and their children. Over the last eight years I have had the opportunity to counsel many men and women. Whether it was counseling them through their marriage, life decisions, or personal struggles, one theme seemed constant. The relationship with their mothers.

No, I’m not Sigmund Freud, nor do I subscribe to his methods of psycho-analysis. But what I have discovered about myself and others is that the value of our relationship with mom is something that molds us and develops us. And many of us had difficult, distant, depressed, or desperate mothers.

We are starting to admit as a society that mother doesn’t always know best. Sometimes she was abusive. Sometimes she drank too much. Sometimes she took too many pills. Sometimes she seemed desperate for a man. Sometimes she worked too much. Sometimes she left us feeling like we wish she was someone else.

All of that hurt and pain that builds up over the years will often carry over into adulthood. Not surprisingly, it impacts how we parent our own children. Afraid of becoming our mothers (or marrying someone like them), we live in constant fear that we might turn out like “her”. That’s when the root of bitterness starts to set in.

At some point along the journey, many of us stated keeping a mom scorecard. In our minds, we grade our mother’s against an imaginary curve. We begin to compare and contrast our mothers to real life mom’s and imaginary ones.

“Well at least my mom is not as bad as…”

“Why couldn’t my mother have been more…”

“My mom was such a disappointment…”

For those who use the mom scorecard, every Mother’s Day is a chance to pull it out and reopen fresh wounds. Rather than reflecting on the joy our mother brought us, that root of bitterness takes hold of us as we think about all of mom’s weaknesses. Maybe it’s time we put down the scorecard.

One of the greatest freedoms we receive through the death and resurrection of Jesus is forgiveness. He is fully aware of all our brokenness, all of our failures. If anyone is capable of keeping a scorecard, God is. Yet, in the midst of fully knowing how lousy we measure up to His standards, He not only puts down our scorecard but obliterates it. Then, Jesus takes His perfect scorecard and signs our name to it.

The power of forgiveness for the follower of Jesus is the most unexpected and greatest gift we could receive. Instead of holding our sins against us, God looks on us and sees perfect children, covered through the life, death, and resurrection of His true Son. He adopts us into His family and calls us to the dinner table. And while we are at the dinner table He doesn’t bring up the past.

Imagine if you were to share the forgiveness of Jesus with your mom this Mother’s Day? What if you were able to put down the scorecard and see her the way God sees her? If she already knows the power and love of Jesus, then you are free to do as God does. See her as covered in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. If she does not yet know the truth about what God has done for her, pray and treat her as if she was one of God’s children who needed to know it was ok to come home.

How would it change the way you kept score if you believed she either was or could be saved by the graciousness of Christ Jesus? Put down your scorecard this Mother’s Day and be free to forgive.

[Image via Mama’s Health]