I love to win, and so do you. Card games, board games, sports, and competitions each bring out the best and worst in people. I even feel my blood pressure go up when the team I cheer for wins or loses, and I’m not even on the field or court. We all love to win and to be associated with winners.
Being competitive isn’t a bad thing at all. However, what happens when two people that want to win confront each other? Simply stated, the tendency is to forget why and focus on winning. This devolves into attacks, shouting, character jabs, and anger.
We must first choose our battles. Oftentimes a confrontation is prompted out of preference or the need to be in control. These battles are often seen in marriages, parenting, or peer relationships at work. Who is the bigger person and ultimately in control? While we are all guilty, each battle is rooted in fear or pride. Inevitably no one wins here.
Deeper and more significant are battles that impact the integrity and purity of the Gospel. Galatians 2:11-14 describes an event when Paul confronted Peter over a Gospel issue. Peter had operated out of fear and showed partiality to Jews to the point that he refused to eat with Gentiles. This action was more than just about who was at the dinner table but cut to the heart of the Gospel.
Be careful not to color any faith debate as a Gospel issue. Clearly, there are faith matters that fall in the category of preference and, truthfully, are not worth dying over; yet, we have many denominations and church splits over preference. What is more important and worth dying over are Gospel convictions. Salvation by grace through faith is made possible by Jesus’ blood which was shed for all. Any exclusivity, delusion, or deviation from this truth is worth confronting and fighting for.
Be on guard as the Enemy seeks to divide and destroy. We must discern what is a battler worth fighting and must never shy away from confronting Gospel matters with grace. Keep in mind the objective is not about winning a fight. Instead, it must be about restoring others to faith and to the proper practice of the Gospel.