Foe & Friend

32“You know the guys would all be decked out…and there is Bobke in his Mom’s sweater…I would KICK THEIR ASS every day. It just took one guy to say you’re in your Mom’s sweater to dole out the punishment!” Bob Roll, Euro-pioneer and cycling personality

Bobke found his way

A second generation cashmere hand-me-down turned jersey is perfect for northern California spring training and teasing. So Bobke is describing a merry motivation: playful retribution. This episode was all in good fun, but sometimes the words of peers have as hard an edge as the pavé in Paris-Roubaix; sometimes those in your world aren’t merry men ready for you as their Robin Hood. Once in a while, there may even be a few decided upon your destruction, or at least the decimation of your dreams.

I’ve been the recipient of another’s sneering domination. Three weeks of second place and I’d about had it until Miss Win-Thing went away to another region. Her absence made me realize that her instigating presence was teaching me how to win. Subtly, I was being polished by proximity to a worthy competitor.

Sometimes the lessons become personal and the opponent blatant in their enmity: public criticism and gossip murder a reputation; relentless revenge inflicts real damage. There’s nothing like an intruder to evoke territorial showmanship, and there’s no lack of nemeses. Yet in every case, there IS a reason to rejoice. Through firings and defrauding, betrayal and broken hearts, an enemy is more faithful than a flatterer. This person can be your “friend” – “assisting” you to learn some painful lesson, change to a less resisted path or increase determination to stand before an army of naysayers. The effect is motivation; if not merry, then memorable.

Every epic has a hero and a foil – the character whose tension sharpens the resolve and moral fiber of the protagonist and in the process makes a hero draw upon their best.

Prayer for your Competition

“Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person.” 33Luke 6:26-30

We ask forgiveness for our hatred. We ask for discernment to see how the placement of a foe is part of a problem we’re to solve. We pray for our competitors – their best and worst brings out our best.

Ponder Whom do I hate and why? Affirm I am always in control of my attitude and can resist hatred’s hold on me. Watch your energy flow into its proper place when fighting ceases and tactics begin.

32PEZ Interviews: Bobke!” Reported by Matt Wood, Wednesday, October 03, 2007

33The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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