Last night, the Washington Nationals completed an unlikely run from wildcard team to World Series champions. Living in our nation's capital for 30 years, this made me one very happy fan. But it also caused me to think about the larger issue of winning and losing in life.
All of us have ups and downs. Whether individually or as a family, some periods in our lives are harder than others. Life is difficult for everyone, even those who seem to have it all. So, how do we handle winning?
Most of us find it easy to be gracious right after the win. Frankly, in the Nationals' case, the series would not have been half as good without such a strong effort by the Houston Astros. Not only were their pitchers great, but they scored a bunch of runs in the three games that Houston won. The Astros also displayed a lot of class. After they lost the first two games at home, they could have rolled over and lost two of the three games in Washington. But they put up a great fight even to the decisive 7th game.
After the bright lights fade and the victory parade is completed, how do we handle victory then?
Jesus gave us an amazing model for winning. Who accomplished more than He did by conquering death and coming back to life?
What if His first order of business after the resurrection had been to appear to Pontius Pilate and said, "How do you like me now?" Or what if He sneaked up behind Herod and shouted, "Boo!" This seems silly, but what if he'd been an ungracious winner?
Instead, Jesus first appeared to the women who loved Him dearly. He wanted to comfort them with the knowledge that He is risen indeed. He showed Himself to the very men that abandoned Him, couldn't pray with Him one hour, and ran away when He got hauled off to jail.
Finally, He took time on a sandy beach to cook some fish for Simon Peter who denied Him three times. Jesus gave Peter the opportunity to make things right by affirming three times Peter's love for Jesus.
So, what are we going to do? In life, we as Christians have already won. We don't need to worry about life's small skirmishes. Jesus beat sin and death. We ride His coattails to victory. Will we show the same graciousness to the people who have yet to find that victory?
God talked to me about this issue this morning because I need to start showing the grace and mercy to others that has been extended to me. I hope you will pray for me to be a worthy member of Christ's team. I'm praying for you that God will also help you to keep improving in this area. May He strengthen all of us to love like He does every day.