Labeling someone as a "loser" is probably just about the biggest insult that I can imagine lobbing at someone. If it isn't at the top of the list, it certainly is right up there. Nobody likes to lose, to be bested, to give an inch in the face of fair and honest competition. Certainly in many arenas, we must concede defeat because we are outmatched. Sometimes this occurs because we are not fully prepared or because other contenders are more skilled or gifted. Of course, worse than losing once in a while, is a sustained pattern of losing or even a perceived sense that someone fails most of the time.
However, those of you who are parents, especially those with younger children, purposefully lose to them nearly all of the time. Not because we are inferior or less prepared or weaker. It is because we want to build up the confidence and self-esteem of our little ones. We have seen how their independence and self-assuredness grow when they best us in board games or video games or physical contests. For normally aggressive and competitive adults, we lose and still bask and revel in our victorious moment. Our spirits are filled to overflowing witnessing the brightened glow in our children. Our behavior is a clear indication of selfless love, of putting the needs of others before our own innate selfish desires. I find it amusing how this instinct diminishes as our children get older and we feel the need to reestablish our dominance. Our attitude seemingly becomes one of "I'll show you who is the alpha human around here". While this is partly true, our increased intensity as our children get older is probably appropriate so that they don't get a false sense of their abilities heading out into the "real" world. They need to develop appropriate humility and appreciation of others.
While all of this is interesting to me and I have lots of other thoughts rumbling around my mind, the real idea kernel behind today's blog post on losing is the few individuals in my life to whom I absolutely abhor losing. The scale of the "battle" does not matter, grand or trivial. I find that in all such engagements with these combatants, I want to crush their spirits into the dust. I want them to suffer. I want to upset their attitudes and peace of mind. I want to win. I need to win. Thankfully, however, the number of individuals on this list are very few in number. I honestly hope that I can come to grips with my attitude and eliminate such lists from my mind entirely. I fully understand that my attitude toward these individuals is based on over-compensating for injuries that they have inflicted on me in the past. The fact that such a list exists in my mind at all boils down to forgiveness, or more appropriately, a lack of forgiveness. I have such a distaste for these individuals because I have not properly dealt with those past wounds. However, the simple act of forgiveness is a crucial and necessary step on the road to healing and moving on and living a Godly life.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins, Matthew 6:14-15