We live in a culture that celebrates winning. We fancy ourselves and our nation as the ultimate David and Goliath story. We shrugged off the foreign imperial army, dumped their precious tea into the harbor, and guerrilla warfared our way outta that joint (#Merica)!
And since then, we’ll do whatever it takes to win.
Living in Denver was proof of that this season. We are Super Bowl 50 champions, baby! And of course, by we, I mean the integral part that I played in watching them on Sundays after church. Sure, other people may have done a bit more than me, but because I’m in proximity, I get to claim it just as much as Manning does. (Still waiting on my Papa John’s endorsement though, I’m sure the paperwork just go lost in the mail).
We love winning. Winning is the best. Winning is all that matters. I even regularly used the phrase, “Second place is first place loser” while in high school.
After all, there’s no such thing as “playing for fun.” You play to win. Period. Case closed. Don’t object.
Or rather, do object. Because then you’d be wrong. And if you’re wrong, we could argue. And if we argue, I could find something else to win at.
Man, I love winning arguments, almost as much as I love winning Super Bowls.
Winning arguments is great. It’s one of the best feelings out there (right below Super Bowls, remember?)
Except, of course, when winning doesn’t feel all that good.
The verbal teardown, the unloving dismantling of someone else’s (obviously inferior) logic, the soul crushing brutality of our quick wit. Sometimes we win and it doesn’t really feel like winning.
In fact, sometimes winning can feel down right awful, maybe even worse than losing.
To figure out what you’re fighting for.
It’s why I use the phrase, “If I win the argument but lose the relationship, I’ve lost everything.” I want to be clear about what I’m fighting for. When I argue, I’m not fighting to win the argument, I’m fighting to win the relationship.
That’s a fundamental shift in mental priorities.
Because it’s no secret that spouses fight. My wife and I fight. We try hard not to, we practice open and clear communication, we make our needs known, we do everything possible to avoid it.
And yet sometimes we’re extra tired, or traffic upset us, or the kids have been acting up and we get in a bad mood. And then we start looking for a fight.
So it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, we tread carefully.
Because what good is it to win the whole world and yet lose your soul? (Mark 8:36)
What good is it to win the argument if I have to demean and dehumanize my spouse?
What’s the point of professing faith in Christ if I can’t turn the other cheek or forgive like I’ve been forgiven? (Matthew 5:39, Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13)
There’s something to be said about fighting well. Something to be said for fight the right way, for the right thing.
And I’ll always choose the relationship over the issue.
So here’s the trick to winning, the key to getting it right:
Always be the first to apologize. With humility, go to the other person you respect and value (spouse or otherwise, they are created in the image of God) and apologize.
You may not win the argument (which I guess means I owe you a free blog post), but you will win the relationship, and that’s so much more important.
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