23 Oct Building Others Up
The Devil loves the way we do business. When the Devil starts to doubt his success or abilities, all he needs to do is open Twitter. Every negative emotion or thought seems to be expressed right there on a digital canvas. Things people would never say in person, seem to flow through their fingers with ease.
People have a desire to express themselves. God intends for us to do it from our gifts and talents, but many take the easy way out. They look at how someone else is using their abilities and realize it is simpler—and less creative—to critique and belittle what someone else has done. They convince themselves they are somehow being original or impactful through their divisive language.
Eliud Kipchoge broke the two-hour barrier for the marathon in Vienna, Austria, on a long, straight road with roundabouts on either end. No, it was not a world record. The IAAF has rules about the kind of racecourse that qualifies for a record. What kind of rules, you ask. Well…the course has to begin and end in two locations not further apart than 50% of the total distance of the race. Also, the overall decrease in elevation from the start to the finish cannot exceed 1m per 1km of running. A marathon is 42.195km. (I bet you are glad you asked that question.) We are in the weeds now, because none of that matters as Kipchoge did not break the barrier in a race.
Kipchoge is the fastest marathoner in the world. What?! I thought you said his time did not count. I did, but he set the world record in 2018 at 2:01:39, breaking the record by over a minute. He is simply the best runner at that distance. He is the reigning Olympic marathon gold medalist. Kipchoge has won eight major marathons. The man is fast. He is also not immune to criticism.
It did not take long before the critics started. It had nothing to do with his ability and dominance in the marathon distance. It was not about his training regimen or an allegation of using performance enhancing drugs. No, the criticism was about his shoes.
Since Mars Blackmon started yelling at us about Michael Jordan’s dominance—“Money, it’s gotta be the shoes!”—we have heard about one shoe being better than another. The Nike shoes worn by Kipchoge include a carbon-fiber plate surrounded by foam, which, some argue, acts like a spring. Even Roger Bannister had special, ultralight spikes when he broke the 4-minute mile barrier. Having an edge is nothing new.
Sometimes people are more successful than us. They may be more mentally or physically gifted than we are. They may have worked harder than we have. And, yes, they may have better tools or resources than we do. We still do not have to belittle them or criticize them.
Paul gives us this advice in Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Our words should build others up. Our message should benefit those with which we speak.
Are you doing that? I know I am not doing that…all of the time. But, that is our goal. May we all try living that message this week. Things will be much better in the world…and on Twitter. We may even get the Devil on the run. Sounds like a plan to me.
Blessings to you,