“Everyone who hates is a murderer” – 1 John 3:14
READ1 John 3:11-15REFLECT
Competition has value. It drives us to be our best. But when comparison becomes the center of competition it leads to murder. This sounds like a ridiculous statement, but it is exactly what the Bible teaches.
Jesus points to the sixth commandment – “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). His teachings show all life must be valued, but His explanation for this commandment is significant. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus equates an insulting anger with murder. He says the same punishment for murder should be administered to those who belittle others through their anger (Matthew 5:21-22). How could this be? What does murder have in common with anger in this context? In our text from 1 John we find the answer from the example of Cain. He murdered because of comparison.
While competition can bring out the best in us, it also provides an easy opportunity to compare ourselves with others. Competition is not to be blamed. The motives we bring to competition are the problem (James 4:1-3). Why do we compete? What matters most after the competition? How do I feel about my competition? Can I rejoice when I see others achieve success, or do I only rejoice when I win? These questions can expose our motives. As we allow God’s mission to direct our motives we will continue to compete to be our best. But our competitiveness leaves room for others to succeed. We can rejoice with all our competitors since they can equally honor the name of our God through their success.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor.” (James 4:10)
1 – When your score doesn’t look as good as another’s, how do you feel toward your competitor?
2 – What do your emotions after competition tell you about your motives through competition?
3 – How can God be glorified when you don’t win?