Competition versus Cooperation PDF Print E-mail
Covenantal Families






Although we live in a society that practices and promotes competition, its presence, even to the slightest degree, has no place in the Christian home and should in fact be eliminated at its first onset. Consider the synonyms for the competitive person and the implications this scourge has on a family’s happiness and solidarity.


A competitive person is described in the thesaurus as aggressive, ambitious, antagonistic, at odds, combative, cutthroat, rival, killers. alone should be enough to convince parents of this destructive behavior; however, God strongly speaks against this sin in the following scriptures.


“Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves].” Philippians 2:3 Amplified


“And those who belong to Christ Jesus, the Messiah, have crucified the flesh—the godless human nature—with its passions and appetites and desires. If we live by the Holy Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. If by the Holy Spirit we have our life (in God), let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit. Let us not become vain glorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another.” Galatians 5:24-26 Amplified


In contrast, let us pay particular attention to the synonyms for cooperation—the opposite of competition. Some of these include aid, alliance, assistance, collaboration, combined effort, communion, company, confederation, fusion, harmony, help, participation, partnership, reciprocity, service, society, teamwork, union, and unity.


Clearly, cooperation should be the desired goal of every parent! It is all about solidifying family members into a family unit by nurturing relationships through sacrificial love rather than selfishness. These are best cultivated through service and gratitude so that young children are trained to look for ways to serve each other, help one another, and express gratitude to one another for each act of kindness throughout each day. Playing games, which we do almost every night, provide other opportunities in which to aid, cheer, and support all players. It is not about winning in our house; it is about the camaraderie of joining together in a fun pastime. For the most part, no one cares about the final score of our games, anyway.


Upon closer examination, we find that insecurity is the real seedbed of comparison, jealousy, and subsequently, a competitive spirit. It is the result of being self-conscious instead of Christ-conscious. If left unchecked, this sin will grow into a critical spirit, which nitpicks everyone while swallowing the camel of its own deceit.


Evidence of this pernicious nature can be seen in those who quibble over insignificant points, contradict others, complain about others, complain that things are not going their way, and who become irritated at others’ mistakes or accomplishments. The sins of omission in this case would be the absence of praise, encouragement, happiness for others’ achievements, and assistance in helping others succeed.


Competitiveness cannot be turned off and on like a faucet at will. Since competitive people always want to win, they work at destroying others so that they come out on top. It destroys relationships and family businesses.


If we are confident in our relationship with the King of kings, we will never feel insecure because there is no need to measure up to others, but will instead look to our duty to invest in others’ lives for His Kingdom. If that is our goal, we can walk into any setting and feel perfectly at ease because our eyes are on our Savior rather than ourselves, making us free to assist and praise others.


Although it is true that only Christ Himself can fill the void in the insecure child’s soul, we can go a long way in hindering this cankerous growth, and ultimately altering its self-destructive course by cultivating a heart of gratefulness and one that serves others.





At different times throughout my childhood, I remember my parents pointing out men in suits in the front of our store who were evidently checking out our inventory and displays. We were their competitors, so they wanted to see how my parents did things. As a matter of fact, most people in business will tell you that it is imperative to scrutinize your competitors, yet my parents never worried about those who had similar businesses. They just focused on what they did best, working hard to provide their customers with the best products and the best service in the cleanest, prettiest store in town.


Whether the movie Chariots of Fire accurately portrays the real character of Harold Abrahams or not, the antithesis between the focus of the character of the men who played Abrahams and Eric Liddell best exemplifies how we should run the race. In the movie, Abrahams, who appeared to be running the race for himself, kept looking around to determine the proximity of his competitor. In the end, he lost. Liddell, on the other hand, who openly ran the race to glorify God, turning neither to the left nor the right, kept his eyes on the mark and won.


It reminds us of two verses, one in Matthew 6:33: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” and Colossians 3:23,24: “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”