Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lift Others, Not Ourselves

So there I was, heading into overtime in the state-semi final game for basketball after a ferocious 32 minutes of high quality basketball. We had led most of the game, but an awesome three pointer from the corner came outta nowhere with just seconds left to tie the game up and give the opposing team a breath of life. It was one of the most tense moments I had ever been apart of, and even though I was confident that we could take care of business, I decided to offer up a little prayer in my heart.

I Got Hoop Dreams Coach!

Now don't get me wrong, I really think god stays out of sports. Really, what would you do if all of your children were playing basketball against each other? Would you be rooting for one side to just clobber the other? Yeah, didn't think so... I don't think he necessarily cares who wins or who gets the glory or anything like that, but I definitely believe in the saying, "Let the best team win!" and I have a firm belief that a petition to God to ensure that no one gets hurt during the competition is a reasonable priority.

So this prayer I offered was not one of, "Dear Lord, please let them suck and not be able to beat us because our team is so awesome", but more of a continuation of the, "Let us all do our best!" thought so we could all enjoy healthy competition and have fun while doing it.

Mark Twain's "The War Prayer" gives that same illustration as with our basketball prayer. In sports there always has to be a winner and there always has to be a loser, but that's not the case in life. We don't need to compare ourselves one with another, because inevitably it leads to lifting ourselves over those around us.

President Uchtdorf gave a talk in General Conference of October of 2010 in relation to this lifting up of ourselves over our neighbors. His words were as follows:
Pride is sinful, as President Benson so memorably taught, because it breeds hatred or hostility and places us in opposition to God and our fellowmen. At its core, pride is a sin of comparison, for though it usually begins with “Look how wonderful I am and what great things I have done,” it always seems to end with “Therefore, I am better than you.”
When our hearts are filled with pride, we commit a grave sin, for we violate the two great commandments. Instead of worshipping God and loving our neighbor, we reveal the real object of our worship and love—the image we see in the mirror.
So with the fact in mind that life isn't about beating our friends and neighbors, I'm trying personally to keep my mind focused on doing the best I can do and leaving the rest. We cant control what others do, but we can always do a little bit better for ourselves.

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