There’s no guarantee that the “good guys” will win, but isn’t it great when they do? When the team dog-piling at the end of the season is led by or filled with guys whose lives are marked by integrity, kindness, and compassion, there’s something in us that loves it. On the other hand, when the winning team is arrogant, spiteful, and rude, we lament their victory. Why is that?

Proverbs 28:12 puts it this way…”When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, but when the wicked rise, men hide themselves.”

This verse is referring to something way beyond baseball, but it has application for us still.

Here are a few thoughts.

The true “good guys” are those whose lives are marked by righteousness, integrity, and kindness. In that order. Righteousness doesn’t mean perfection, but simply that a person has been put into right standing with God by his grace through their faith. It means that the person’s account, once filled only with sinful nature, has been replaced with only the righteousness of Jesus. Then, he or she lives with humility (thinking of oneself less) and kindness (toward others, based on the kindness of God shown to them). The good guys aren’t good guys because of something they’ve done. You don’t become a “good guy” apart from the saving grace of Jesus.

It’s better when these kinds of good guys win. It just is. That’s not to say that they always win. Certainly, we know that isn’t true. It’s not that God makes them win because they belong to him. Again, we know that’s not true. But, when they do win, they do so with a humility, graciousness, and kindness that is incredible. When they win, they are willing to share the credit and glory, and it seems like we all win when they win.

When the “wicked” win, they make it difficult on everyone else around them. Pride is at the heart of all wickedness. It is the root of self-sufficiency, self-determination, self-importance, and all other matters related to self. The wickedness resulting from pride includes harsh treatment of opponents, gloating over victories, and believing one is of greater value because they have won a game. Nobody likes these kinds of people unless they are these kinds of people.

The lesson in all of this isn’t about who you should pull for to win games, but goes far beyond that. The lesson is about what will happen when you succeed. Will people be glad, or will they want to hide themselves? Will they see in you righteousness, humility, and kindness, or will they have to endure your gloating, condescending, exaltation of yourself?

Coach/player, God doesn’t guarantee you success just because you believe in Jesus, but because you believe in Jesus, how will you then handle success?

Lord Jesus, before I am blessed with any on-the-field success, grow me in your righteousness, humility, and kindness. If I win, remind me that it does not give me greater value. Remind me to share the credit. Remind me that the glory belongs to you. Amen.