Decide to Lose in Order to Win 

We were sitting on the floor playing.

It’s one of my favorite things to do with our grandkids. Hudson, our six year old grandson, had come to spend the night while his brother was away at camp. “We can play whatever you want,” I announced to him. A stack of games sat on a nearby table. Uno, Sorry, Monopoly are his current favorites. He chose Sorry. As we began playing, I had a flashback to the first time we played. I hadn’t remembered how to play and so he taught me. And I won. And, his little face fell. I felt so bad. Now, before you jump on the “they have to learn to lose as well as win,” talk; I agree. And, we play that way. It was just that it was our first time to play that game and he taught me. It wouldn’t have hurt for him to win the first game. We played several games that day and he won the next game so it all turned out.

Fast forward to this week. Hudson was a little under the weather and missing his brother. So, our time together was special. He chose to play Sorry. He was playing great and sure to win. Then, to my  dismay, he drew some bad cards. Parents, have you been there? You could care less about winning a game, but it’s really important to your child? I was doing some quick thinking; wondering how I could manage to lose. The only way would be to cheat. That’s right. Cheat. When I drew my card, I would have to “peep” at more than the top card to be sure it wasn’t a winner. But, because he’s six, he might notice. What a dilemma. I decided to go for it. And, I’m glad I had seen what was coming and planned accordingly. I managed to lose without calling attention to the fact. My loss was a win. Hudson continued to play and did a great job at winning Sorry. I won because I saw a huge smile on that little fella’s face. I was glad I’d seen what was coming so I could decide to lose in order to win seeing his smile. We continued to play that game and others – him winning some, me winning some. Special times and memories.

Do You Have to Win

I began to wonder… in the Christian walk, do we ever need to decide to lose in order to win? For instance, if we’re married and don’t see eye to eye on something, do we have to win and have our way? I’m not referring to moral issues; but rather day to day differences of opinion that can arise.  For example, in 1 Peter 3:3-4, women are instructed, “Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”

I have to admit, my natural heart is to be a winner – to have it my way; which means my husband would not always describe me as a woman with a “gentle and quiet spirit.” No doubt, God hasn’t always looked at me and said to Jesus, “Isn’t she precious?”  So, I’m learning that I have to decide to lose sometimes in order to win. What do I win by losing? In the case of my hubby and me, I win peace.  What about you and your relationships? Do you always have to win, get the last word, do it your way?

Peter has a word to husbands, too. “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way…and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7-8)  Hmmm, that’s a good word, isn’t it?  Husbands who decide things don’t always have to be their way but rather honor their wives will win. What do they gain when they decide to not be domineering and controlling? Answered prayers. The respect of their wives.

Jesus Models Losing to Win

Nowhere do we find a better example of deciding to lose in order to win than in Jesus. What did He lose? His life. What did He win? Our salvation.

Decide to Lose in Order to Win

In our driven society, “coming out on top,” having it our way, and winning seem to be ingredients for success. But, sometimes they’re not. Often those who win at those lose their marriages, children, jobs, and friendships. But deciding to lay down our lives like Christ did; for a greater cause, can result in marriages, careers, and relationships with our children, grandchildren and others that honor Christ. What would it look like if Christians decided to lose living for themselves?  I think we would serve others. And, as Peter writes, we’d, “…be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead;” We’d win because we’d “inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)

I won seeing a big smile on Hudson’s face when I lost the first game of Sorry. We win as Christians when we lay down our lives for Christ and live in harmony and humility with others. What might we be wise to decide to lose in order to inherit God’s blessing?

Heavenly Father, You command us to embrace Christ’s example of laying down our lives to serve You and others. Give us Your perspective so we know when to lose in order to win favor with Christ and others. 

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