In every game, there are two types of players. It doesn’t matter if the game is checkers or Judo, there are still only two types of players. The first is the type of player that congratulates his opponent on a move well made, a fight well fought, a hard tackle appreciated even though he was on the receiving end. The other type of player is exactly the opposite. He is the type who creates enemies out of his own spirit. When his opponent does good, he doesn’t congratulate him, he tries to hurt him in ways that are either unethical, illegal or ungodly.
God enjoys only one of those two players, and it should be obvious which one he enjoys. He enjoys the player who has fun and tries his best to win but, at the same time, upholds his character–God’s character–while playing.
Life is much of the same. We need to do the best we can to succeed, but we can’t compromise God’s purpose to do it. As we work, we must remember that God is more important than success, and we must remember that God wants us to put people first. So, as we compete in life, as we work hard, we need to make sure to treat everybody with “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control” (Galations 5:22). That doesn’t mean we have to let them win, but that does mean we have to win without cheating at God’s rules.
Sometimes we can’t help it when enemies are created because we are only doing what God wants us to do, or because we are only playing the game the best way we know how. Or sometimes we just simply fall short of God’s character. When those things happen, when enemies are created out of accidental or uncontrollable circumstances, remember this: “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).