A New Way of Winning!

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Tiger Woods has won two golf tournaments. He is on the comeback trail. He is the pretournament favorite to win the Masters.

Nike has come out with a new ad – “winning takes care of everything.” Tiger Woods had a lot of issues in his past. When he was losing those issues seemed to be more prominent. The question is, “Now that he is winning, are all those things taken care of?”

There is a part of our culture that gives credence to this ad. Winning helps smooth over and sometimes even take care of things. Look at how crazy we are in the Southeastern Conference about football. Coaches are human and make mistakes. History has sometimes shown that if the team starts winning, those issues with the coach can be minimized or overlooked.

Many college football teams have had difficulty with some of the players getting in trouble – some in very serious trouble. How big that looms in the view of a program is sometimes determined by whether or not the team is winning and whether or not those players are contributing to the wins. There are some cases where winning seems to take care of everything.

But that is not the whole truth. Winning does not take care of everything. Tiger Woods is winning, and people are cheering for him. But does that take care of the harm that was inflicted on his children who learned things about their daddy that they probably never imagined? Does it take care of all the ridicule the children have received? Does it take care of the rejection they felt? Does it take care of the social scrutiny?

And does Tiger’s winning today take care of all the hurt, rejection, disappointment, and devastation of his wife who trusted him when he was “out there winning?” Does it take care of all the shattered hopes and dreams of young people who looked up to Tiger and thought they were trying to pattern their lives after someone who was special?

There is one case where winning does take care of everything. It is what we just experienced during Holy Week. The palms laid before Jesus on Palm Sunday were symbols of winning. The palms were a trophy that was given to someone who was victorious. Jesus was declared a winner.

But His way of winning ran counter to what culture regarded as winning. He redefines winning. The palms on Sunday turned to a cross on Friday. He didn’t come to “take over” with military, political, or economic power. His winning wasn’t based on the scoreboards or polls, or the vote of the people. He came to show that real winning comes when a person follows God’s will and God’s purpose for his/her life. Winning comes through giving, not getting. Winning comes through forgiving, not seeking revenge.

The only kind of winning that does take care of everything is found in Jesus Christ! Holy Week was about His life, death and resurrection. He won. It wasn’t the kind of winning that people expected – but it was what God applauded. God’s scoreboard is different.

He invites us to a way of winning that does “take care of everything!”

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