Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Week Six - Good Sportsmanship

Beside the Well

            The Eagles win the Super Bowl!  The Patriots go away in defeat.  Later the next day a little video popped up on my Facebook feed with the title, New England Patriot haters can celebrate now.  Haters?  What followed was a selection of video clips of people cheering, jumping, and rejoicing.  It was poor sportsmanship.
            That very morning I read Leviticus 19:17-18, “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart…thou shalt not avenge nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the Lord.”
            I agreed with the Lord’s reminder.  Then, as I moved to read my devotion, the Lord had more to say!  His scriptural prod was, “The key to supernatural power is meekness.  A steadfast look at Jesus instead of at the injury makes a very great difference…Isn’t this the simple explanation for our being so heavy-laden, so tired, so overburdened and confused and bitter?  We drag around such prodigious loads of resentment and self-assertion.  Shall we not rather accept at once the loving invitation:  “Come unto me...for I am meek and lowly, and I will give your rest.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
            Loads of resentment and self-assertion?  Is that the source of bad sportsmanship?  Is that the description of society that would jeer and taunt, even hate, the opposite team?
            I began thinking of the things I see in politics, in schools, and across the broad spectrum of the world in which we live.  Loads of resentment?  Yes, people hate to lose and resentfully wait for the moment of payback.  They are using hate as a basis for decision-making and, yes, they are using self-assertion as a weapon to get their way with claims of prejudice and calls for equality.  Sadly, they are not becoming happier, only angrier, more tired, bitter, and confused.
            I dare say all of us have experienced hurts in our lives.  There have been times when we didn’t win at life’s game and times when relationships have broken down, but if we go through life with a chip on our shoulder, or looking to see someone else fall so we can jeer, we are not creating a happy life.  We are bearing grudges and seeking revenge.
            Jesus’ invitation is to lay those things down, to pick up meekness, and receive rest.  God will be the one who makes all things right in the end.  He will be the winner, and we can share the victory if we get on His team and exercise good sportsmanship!

Elliot, Elisabeth, Keep a Quiet Heart, Revell Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1995, page 109.

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