My sons have a hard time celebrating each other. Often, when one has been successful in the classroom or on the court, the other might wince a bit as any affirmation or compliments he might give somehow get stuck behind his teeth on the tip of his toungue. Instead of congratulating and celebrating, they find it easier to point out something that could have been done better . . . or at least differently.
“Well, that’s the only A you’ve made on a vocabulary test this year.”
“That shot would have been ‘all net’ if your arch had been better.”
“You could have run a little bit faster when you scored that touchdown.”
“You should have worked those math problems out in your head like I can instead of having to do them on paper.”
What makes it so hard for human beings to celebrate and genuinely affirm the success of another?
As you guys know, I’m writing a Bible study on Gideon and I’ve now come to a very interesting part of his story. In Judges 8, Gideon and the 300’s success over Midian has been spectacular. The air of victory is hanging over them like a banner of victory. They are amazed at what Yahweh has done on their behalf.
And then. . .
Ephraim – another tribe within their nation – hears of their success and instead of celebrating their kinsmen, they question their military strategy. Why hand’t they been included in the defeat of the enemy, they wonder. Like rain storming down on the Macy’s Day Parade, the critics quickly dampen the spirited and festive mood of the soldiers.
The smiles fade.
The cheers of victory subside.
A feeling of discouragement settles in the place where excitment had just been.
How many times have I done that same thing to another who is celebrating a big win in their lives? How many times have you?
Is it our own insecurity that causes negative emotion to swell when another fairs well? Do we feel excluded somehow or like our own efforts are less than stellar because of their success?
Hmmmm. . I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on why you think this happens and what you are doing to curtail this habit in your own life.