Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rivalry - a word that packs a huge punch!

Two weeks ago, my kids' school played their rival in basketball at our gym.  It is always an emotionally charged time whenever these two schools meet for any reason whatsoever.  The varsity boys team from our school was ranked number one in the state.  Their team beat our team at the buzzer by 2 points and then their students stormed our court and chanted "We own Lee-Scott" over and over again until finally they left, out a back door. (very wise move by our administration). 

This past Friday night our school was slated to go to their school to play.  The social media chatter had been at an extremely high level.  They tried to trend "weownleescott" on twitter.  Lee-Scott Varsity Boys not only needed to win to get back their number one ranking but they needed to win by at least 3.  They were down by 13 at half-time and it didn't look good.  The two student sections were in opposite corners of the gym and it was loud and there were a lot of back and forth cheers. One of our parents encouraged a foul called by a referee and the aunt of the player the foul was called on told our parent to sit down and close her mouth.  (that's the cleaned up version for the blog).

I'm going to post a picture of our JV cheerleaders watching their cheerleaders perform.  I want to preface this by saying that the JV cheerleaders in this picture that I personally know are outstanding, growing young women.  They are learning how to follow Christ, just like you and me.  They are usually extremely gracious in their observation of other squads and have friends at most of the other schools that they play.  I say all that because I posted this picture at their request on Facebook and some people might have felt the need to criticize them.  

Just after this picture was taken they came over and we showed it to them.  They had no idea they were standing like this watching - staring - at the other squad.

This picture has really made me think yesterday about rivalries.  The definition of a rivalry is
the act of competing as for profit or a prize;
But some synonyms are: competitioncompetitivenessvyingoppositionstruggleconflictcontestcontentionduelantagonismemulation 

All of this makes me think about what do I compete for? What do I vy for? What do I struggle for? 

And what should I be vying for, stuggling for?  And of course scripture has the answer...

Hebrews 12:2-3
"Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!"

Competition is not bad.  But when it gets under our skin and causes us to speak in an unwholesome or negative manner, when it causes us to choose to hate and not love, when our actions are against the competitor and not for the victory...then we allow Satan to use that competition as a tool to turn something that we could give God glory for into something dark and ugly.  

When it all comes light of all really won't matter that Lee-Scott won on Friday night 72-66 and gained back their number one ranking.  No one will even remember.  

I don't compete athletically anymore but I'm still very competitive. I'm praying that I will remember this lesson the next time I'm competing for attention or position or to be heard. I'm really trying to "keep my eyes on Jesus..."

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