This is how the world normally works: your stuff; my stuff. Or, it could be, your tasks; my tasks. And never the twain, ordinarily, shall meet.
Life can seem, or degenerate to being, very competitive.
On the surface this sounds perfectly fair—an eye for an eye. Keeping people to account for the things they’ve agree to, or to those things we expect from them, should be enough to maintain reasonable and sufficiently tight boundaries. What sounds reasonable, however, is actually quite ridiculous. It was designed to work in a child’s world, where children expect fairness.
Our world is not a fair place.
Whilst there are godly constructs that require fairness, and in good case, the intent of the legal world—to establish and maintain the order of justice—so many things in this world escape that due process. When we expect fairness it’s an important clue that we’ve sunken into our child-state.
The Paradoxical Nature Of Our Adulthood
The reason we’re innately competitive is we’re broken, childish people, at least at certain times. The following can be confronting, but it’s nonetheless true:
Notice the child before you... the one appearing, physically, as adult... (and not just them—we’re all back to our child-state when we become emotional)... we can ‘enjoy’ the fact that no single person is spared their competitive nature. No one is more or less perfect than we are. Imperfection abounds, as does unfairness.
The paradoxical nature of our adulthood is we slip back into this child-state oh so easily. Otherwise the sinful nature, we’re condemned to it whenever we insist on having our own way.
Only One Remedy
If we want the best result for ourselves, we must shoot for the best result for the other person. This, too, is a paradox. Nobody getting their own way truly gets their own way. Not for long. Selfishness is never satisfied. It’s like an itch that insists on being scratched, again and again. This is proven in the pleasure principle. The more pleasure we get the more we want.
There’s only one remedy. When we know we can only win when all parties win, simultaneously, as best that can be managed, we shoot for results with the collective mindset at the forefront of our motivation.
In a world such as ours, where sin reigns, but against the structure for unity that God set up beforehand, there’s only one way it can work. The Gospel not only saves lives, eternally speaking, it saves lives now, today, from undue frustration by events rooted in harmony. The more we want for others, the more God gives us.
We live in a world where collective thinking is blessed and selfish thinking is cursed. Only when we ensure that all parties are looked after do we get sight of success.
Relationship success is an exclusive club, and its members qualify for membership by looking after one another as good as their own person. All good relationships rise above competitive selfishness. Only when all parties are catered for is there true joy.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.