“…..love envies not; love flaunts not itself and is not puffed up.” I Corinthians 13:4b
As an avid golfer I look forward every year to the U. S. Open Golf Tournament which determines the champion golfer of the year. This great sporting event is always played on the week leading up to Father’s Day so the final round is contested on Father’s Day.
Because the U. S. Open is always played by the world’s greatest golfers on one of the Nation’s most difficult courses that is set up to play as hard as it can possibly play, the Tournament usually features a dramatic ending.
The 2015 edition was not an exception, coming down to the last putt from the final player to determine the winner. Dustin Johnson hit two fantastic shots under immense pressure to put himself in position to have a twelve foot putt to win the Championship. As he stood over the tricky downhill putt, Dustin had two chances to win. If he knocked the ball into the hole he would be the outright champion but even with two putts he could have tied for the lead and earned his way into an eighteen hole playoff today. But, he struck the putt a little too firmly and ran it four feet past the hole. No problem! Now all he had to do was run in this straight uphill four-footer and he would tie for the lead. Sadly though, he pulled the putt and missed it to the left.
Dustin Johnson’s three putt gave the Championship to Jordan Spieth. So you could say that Jordan won or you can also say that Dustin lost. Knowing how golfers think, I am sure Jordan would have preferred to win the tournament rather than have Dustin lose it. I am equally sure it will take Dustin a long time to get over how he squandered this rare opportunity.
I share this because it illustrates the spirit of our Scripture text and gives instruction on how Christ followers should respond in these difficult moments of life.
First, if you are Dustin Johnson, how should you respond in a way consistent with Godly love?
According to the Apostle Paul, Godly love would cause Dustin to be sincerely happy for Jordan Spieth’s victory. Not only that, but he would be as happy over Jordan’s win and he would have been if he had won!
Along with to his genuine joy for Jordan, if Dustin were to demonstrate this great love he would not make any excuses about his loss that would diminish Jordan’s win in the least.
You may be thinking, “Wow, Brad, that’s really hard!” Or, you may even be thinking, “Brad, that’s not possible!”
In terms of human ego, you are correct! It is not in you, nor is it in me. That is why this love is supernatural! Only God can give you this sort of love.
Second, if you are Jordan Spieth, how should you behave in this time of historic triumph?
According to this verse, he should show deep humility for the win and sincere compassion for the loser. Jordan’s concern for Dustin’s feeling of failure and loss should be stronger that his celebration of his fortune.
So, how do you handle it when someone succeeds where you have failed?
Are you able to be as happy for the success of another as you are for your own success?
If you can sincerely answer yes, you have I Corinthians 13 love!