Jump Ball!

I enjoyed playing basketball growing up.  However, let me assure you that my stocky body was by no means the prototype figure for an elite basketball player.  One of the things that I detested on a basketball court is when I was involved in a “jump ball!”  If you are not an aficionado of basketball, this event occurs when two players are madly holding onto the ball refusing to let go.   Often the involved players become angry blaming the other player for holding on to “my ball.”  So, the referee has to step in calling “jump ball” to de-escalate emotions and move the game along.  In old days, the ref lined the involved players up facing each other and tossed the ball up between the two.  Each player tried to jump the highest and tip the ball to one of their players.  I can assure with my less than svelte body build with not much height and very little hops in my leg, I despised when this happened to me.  My opponent usually out jumped me tipping the ball to his team to the disappointment of my team and me.  Thinking about this, it is an unfair practice.  It becomes a win/lose event with the weaker player almost always losing and the stronger player surely winning.

Hey, you know what, this happens many times in our relationships whether it is between your spouse and you in marriage, two colleagues at work, two children, two friends, whatever the relationship may be.  There is a problem.  The dominant “player” usually wins.  The winner walks away happy but the loser most times walks away embittered, belittled and resentful.  Jump balls do not work well in relationships. 

Today, the “jump ball” is handled differently and in some-ways much fairer.  The two teams alternate possession of the ball.  Yet, each “jump ball” remains a win/lose.  I see jump balls often handled this way in our marriages and between our children.  The problem is an argument often arises when the parties can’t agree on who got the ball the last time.  Thus, “50/50 relationships” inevitably end up with the dominant player winning again and bitterness, anger, resentment, doubt, uncertainties and belittlement unhealthily building up in the loser.

Jesus doesn’t like jump balls in relationships.  He enjoys win/win, consensus.  Meditate on and live out the following two verses and watch the need for jump balls and win/lose go away.  Philippians 2:3&4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”  It’s not all about you.  One values another above themselves and is not focused on their own interest.  Once done this way, there is no longer a need for a jump ball.  You are living your relationships in a win/win environment.

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