I’ve noticed that we are beginning to redefine the term rivals and that is puzzling. It’s even a little bit scary as extremism continues to destroy the fabric of our nation.
“If you are from Michigan, you are born hating the whole state of Ohio. Go Wolverines!”
“I’m a Mac person. If you don’t rock a Mac, your are stupid. I mean it.”
That church over there, I really can’t stand the way they do ministry. They steal sheep and stuff. Pisses me off.”
What is a rival?
A rival is a person, team, company, or other organization competing against another person or team, etc.
Please notice this is a neutral term. You can be rivals and be friendly. You can be rivals and have a similar goal. You can be rivals and both strive for the same goal on the same planet without animosity.
Example: I’m a Notre Dame fan. I grew up in a time when Notre Dame football was dominant in college football. And every Fall we played Michigan and USC… our rivals. Now, I never really cared much about USC because they were so far away. But the truth was, outside of that one game, we all wanted to see Michigan do well. Because if they did well and we beat them, that made us look better. To this day I consider Michigan State and Michigan to be some of my favorite teams to watch on Saturday.
What is an enemy?
An enemy is a person who hates or dislikes another person, or is nasty or mean to the person he is an enemy to. The opposite of a friend.
You see, an enemy and a rival are two different things completely.
Competitive rivals make everything better.
Enemies seek to destroy you, your reputation, your organization, and your relationships with everyone you know.
Having a rivalry for your ministry, organization, church, and even yourself… is a very good thing! We are hard-wired for competition. To deny that is to deny something intrinsically human about yourself.
But to label a rival an enemy? That also reveals something deeply disturbing in your heart.