I’m glad I participated in a variety of sports as a child. I was fortunate enough to win a few times, but I also tasted a lot of defeat. I’m very grateful for the coaches who taught us many valuable life lessons – beginning with my dad who was my first coach in little league baseball and grade school basketball. The lessons he taught included: “If you lose, do so with dignity; and be a gracious winner.”
Little did I know then, but those lessons had very broad application throughout life. In innumerable situations we will find ourselves on either the winning or losing end of things. Because that’s true, we need to conduct ourselves in a Christ-honor way in both situations.
Not long ago, I ran across the following instructions, this time providing guidance for when our opponents lose: “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice…” (Proverb 24:17).
It’s difficult not to cheer when those we’ve battled stumble and fall. Our human tendency is to relish seeing them soundly defeated. Yet, God’s Word tells us not to gloat (take pleasure in) seeing our fellow men fall.
Instead, we need to remember that even those we battle against strongly still bear the image of God. He loves them and wants to see them come to a saving knowledge of Christ. As He says through Ezekiel, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.”
Perhaps today you need this reminder – our Father takes no pleasure in the destruction of others – therefore, we shouldn’t either. –Dave
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