The spirit of competition at the expense of another can be manifest in spiritual matters. Individuals may feel they have the exclusive answer to the ultimate questions. A religious sect may feel it has the exclusive perception of ultimate reality. The feelings of resentment, discouragement and bitterness which permeate so much of the earthly life can be traced back, in most cases, to a sense of competition in which one body or group must win through the reality of another’s loss. Jealousy and greed are the natural outcomes of this type of competition.
In addition to reaching outward in an attempt to elevate others from their problems, you must also remember when you experience success to step back from the situation and give thanks to God, for it is God who provided the means for your success, and it is God who can elevate others through your prayers. Therefore, as you thank God, pray for others to be given the wisdom to know God’s strength in their lives. Competition, when viewed from this perspective, becomes constructive. It is oriented outward. It is concerned with those less fortunate. It elevates others.
We don’t wish to imply that competition in sports is wrong, for that is natural. What is damaging is the sense of inwardly directed pride which can result from such competition. When athletes do a fine job, they may feel proud of their accomplishments. They may feel grateful for being given the ability and stamina and judgment necessary to accomplish their objectives. That in itself is natural and not to be condemned. It is only when they direct their awareness to themselves and feel others to be unworthy in some manner that the competition becomes destructive.
Reach outward. Accept the challenge of helping others. Compete against mediocrity and win. Give others a sense of worth, of value, of hope, and, most important of all, of achievement, for with that comes self-respect. It is God’s desire that each of you achieves a strong sense of self-respect, for each of you is a part of God and therefore worthy of respect. That is the application of competition and its true value.
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