Rejoicing Regardless of the Outcome1 Corinthians 13:6
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
Thoughts for Today:A few weeks ago, my grandsons Conner and Christian invited me to come to their school for their annual jog-a-thon. The goal was to run as many laps as possible within 45 minutes. Conner's goal was to beat Christian, and vice versa. Christian, who is a big strong kindergartener, started first. He ran the first few laps as fast as he could. Soon he became tired and had to rest. Then off he sprinted again. I knew he wouldn't last long at that pace, so I walked onto the course, held out my hand and asked if I could run a few laps with him. Between deep breaths, he said, "Sure Grandpa." So off we walked hand in hand. When he was ready, we started to run again. This time at a much slower pace. We completed several laps, then walked a little, ran some more, and before we knew it, time had run out and Christian had completed thirty-four laps. It was one of the top lap counts for his age group.
Soon it was time for the third grade to run -- Conner's age group. When Conner saw me, the first thing he asked was, "How many laps did Christian do?" "Thirty-four," I answered. Conner was shocked. I asked how many he wanted to run. With a determined look in his eyes, he answered, "Thirty-five, I need to do one more than Christian." Determined to beat his brother, Conner sprinted the first ten laps. When he stopped for a water break, I suggested, "You might want to slow down a little, you're getting too tired and you've still got plenty of time left." Then I asked, "Would you like me to run with you?" Conner answered, "No Grandpa. I've got this one!" And off he went. Conner finished with thirty-five laps. One more than his brother.
At the end of the day I picked them up from school. On the way to get a well-deserved hamburger and chocolate malt, they talked about their run. Both were happy with the other's accomplishment. And they had fun doing it. Conner didn't brag or try to belittle his younger brother. Instead, he said, "Christian, I couldn't believe you ran thirty-four laps. Good job!" Humbly, Christian answered, "You ran yours by yourself, but Grandpa helped me." Conner said, "Still that's a lot of laps." All the way to the restaurant they rejoiced with one another. It was a beautiful illustration of our passage today: "Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth."
Love does not rejoice when problems or trouble falls on another person. Even if it is the result of their own mistakes. And love always rejoices when the other person does well and is honored. Just like Conner and Christian.
Questions to Ponder:In our hyper-competitive society, it seems as if a contest is required in just about everything we do. Unfortunately, many people have lost the joy that comes from accomplishment or simply playing a game for the fun of it. Why? In my opinion, it is because belittling the opponent has become the order of the day. Mind games -- antagonize, irritate, and intimidate -- are taught as valid or even desired strategies. Win at all costs is the slogan. But, don't just win, destroy your opponent! I wonder how Jesus feels about the way many Christians compete. Does it lift others up, or bring them down? How do you compete? Do you have to win, or is just playing the game joy enough?