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Don’t forget the losers

(WNS)—The victors write the history books, and the losers are forgotten. It’s been that way since the beginning of time, mainly because the losers ended up dead or deported or losing power. In the realm of sports we build monuments to the champions and forget the efforts of the runners-up.

Even now, nobody, outside the most loyal wearers of blue, remembers that the Kansas City Royals ended a 29-year playoff drought and won eight-straight games on their way to the World Series. Nobody remembers the Royals’ timely hitting, stellar defense and dominant bullpen. They simply are a vague memory of the team that lost to Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants.

Of course, the Giants deserve to be remembered and honored. Bumgarner turned in a performance for the ages.

But all that stood between his legend and an entirely different narrative was 90 feet. In this new narrative, Alex Gordon scored from third, and the Royals go on to win and are remembered for their exploits while the Giants’ own impressive run is filed away in the archives of also-rans.

Isn’t this a problem? I want to enjoy the memories of both teams because they were both excellent. To forget greatness because it lost is still to forget greatness. It is a willing loss of stories, skills, drama and fun.

Throughout history, we have forgotten entire cultures and all their wonders. The winners told us what to remember, so we did, to our own detriment. But it is also the detriment of the forgotten—at best they don’t get credit for their achievements and at worst, as in war and government, they are marginalized and become the underserved minority.

We need a new standard by which to judge and a new filter through which to see. Instead of there being just winners and losers, we need to develop a sense of excellence and goodness.

We need to see great stories and dramas and to value contributions on their own merit. When we fall into a mindset of “to the winner go the spoils,” we miss out on so much good, so much creativity, so much which is enjoyable and inspiring.

More than that, though, we subtly reject standards by which God created us to live. “Winning” isn’t a category of goodness God gave us, and when we use it as the great determiner of value, we are valuing things differently than God does. That’s never a good idea.

As Christians, our lives are to honor Christ and reflect the image of God. This can be done in a million ways that may or may not win but can uplift, create, inspire, encourage, produce and reflect. Even Jesus Himself did not look like a winner to the world. By human standards He lost, but that loss was the greatest good, and ultimately the greatest victory.

Reprinted with permission of WORLD Magazine. Copyright © 2014 God’s World Publications. All rights reserved. To read more news and views from a Christian perspective, call 800/951-6397 or visit WNG.org.

 

Author: Barnabas Piper

Lifeway Writer

View more articles by Barnabas Piper.

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