One football player was flat on his back. The player who put him there was not heading to his huddle. No, the victor on this play stood over his downed opponent, flexing his muscles in a Hulky pose, as if to gloat and dare at the same time. The photo I’m describing was the table of content picture for the article “Whatever Happened to Play” by Shirl James Hoffman (Christianity Today, Feb 2010). Hoffman mourns the death of play in sporting arenas and asks how the mad sport culture has impacted Christians.
The article reminded us of a funny event from one of our couples retreats. All the couples were involved in a video scavenger hunt. One group had to video a water chugging contest. One of the participants in the contest was a friend of ours who is a high school coach. We laughed out loud when we saw the video because in this very innocent, couple-focused contest, when he finished his water bottle (first by the way), his competitive spirit burst forth, and he threw empty bottle down on the ground with a “take- that- water- losers” kind of look on his face. We were prepared for him to give the camera a Hulk pose.
Do you let a competitive, mean spirit rule in your marriage and family relationships? Don’t ask yourself. Ask your spouse and children. “The fruit of the Spirit is … gentleness.”