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In every sporting event where two opposing teams face off there is a loser and a winner. Someone fails and someone succeeds. The feelings are quite different and the contrasting emotions can be seen in the demeanor of each player.

For those following March Madness, some teams have experienced euphoria while others have a humungous letdown. U.C.F. could have won the game against Duke but a one-point lead kept them from elation. Wofford College in South Carolina might have celebrated with gusto if they had been able to keep Kentucky from scoring in the last few seconds. Regardless of the score, a win by 1 point or a win by 30 points is a WIN and Winner takes all!

Vin Scully said: “Losing feels worse than winning feels good.”

After fifty-five years, I can still remember the pain I felt when I received my first ‘F’ on my report card in Junior High School. Up until then – I had been a straight ‘A’ student but when I saw that ‘F’ on my report card – It was like branding a very large ‘L’ for loser on my forehead.

Since that time, my view of winning and losing has changed and I’ve grown in my ability to distinguish between what’s true and false. When I hear people speak about winning, I try to discern if what they say is true or false?

Here are some statements from famous people about winning that I believe to be false. I’m convinced they will not help you grow a healthy understanding of winning and losing.

Tiger Woods: “Winning solves everything.”

Vince Lombardi: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

Knute Rockne: “Show me a gracious loser and I’ll show you a failure.”

George Steinbrenner: “Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next.”

Here’s some quotes that I believe to be true and helpful to building a healthy understanding of winning and losing.

Roger Staubach: “Winning isn’t getting ahead of others. It’s getting ahead of yourself.”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: “You can’t win unless you learn how to lose.”

Yogi Berra: “I tell the kids, somebody’s gotta win, somebody’s gotta lose. Just don’t fight about it. Just try to get better.”

Tim Tebow: “We play a sport. It’s a game. At the end of the day, that’s all it is, is a game. It doesn’t make you any better or any worse than anybody else. So by winning a game, you’re no better. By losing a game, you’re no worse. I think by keeping that mentality, it really keeps things in perspective for me to treat everybody the same.”

In life we need to embrace winning and losing because they are inseparable. We will all experience both in our lifetime. Truth is: It’s possible to learn as much from losing as you can from winning. If you are really going to win in life, you must learn the secret of how to lose.

Don’t get me wrong. I want to win. Paul the Apostle said: “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!” Winning isn’t everything but wanting to win is.

Win or Lose God is on your side! If you fall (and we all will) get back up and God will strengthen you to run with renewed focus and energy. (Proverbs 24:6)

At the end of life, those who have put their confidence in Jesus will be on the winning team, regardless of your wins or losses. Faith in Him brings victory!

And remember: Winners take all!

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Pastor Tim Howard is the Lead Pastor at Koinonia Church. Any comments can be sent to: tim@kchanford.com <mailto:tim@kchanford.com>

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