Is winning really everything?

Pastor Matthew Best
2 min readMar 23

There are a variety of ways of dealing with the world and looking at the world. One way is with a narrow or simplistic lens. Sometimes this is called either/or thinking. The idea is that there is an us and a them. And everyone is either with us or with them.

In discussions, if you can call them that, the point is to figure out who your friends are and who your enemies are. When discussing topics, the point is to win because what else would there be? It’s all or nothing after all. A fixed quotient. One side has 100% of correctness with it, and the other has 0%. And there certainly isn’t any room for growth. There is already 100%.

And you’d think that winning would bring things to an end. That’s what logic would you one to conclude. We won the argument — we are done! It is over. But have you ever experienced a true ending with any either/or way of thinking or the people who espouse it? I haven’t. Rather, it just goes on and on and on — forever. There is never an ending. There’s always another enemy, another clash, another argument, another fight, another war, another, another, another… Another them. Always. It never ends. For infinity.

There is never sabbath rest. Never shalom — wholeness, completeness, enough. There is never peace. There is never the kingdom of God. Never.

Why do we legitimize this mindset? Why do we pick sides, as if picking sides will ever resolve the situation and bring it to a conclusion? It won’t.

Instead, let us create situations that offer complexity and perplexity. Let us offer confusion to either/or, purposefully — not with ill intent, but with intent of showing that there is more that either/or. It’s not about offering an alternative, as if either/or is the legitimate standard. It is not. It is just common. There are better ways to approach the world and life. Healthier ways.

Winning isn’t everything. Especially when it doesn’t ever bring conflict to an end. And it doesn’t ever bring satisfaction.

Embody other ways. God’s ways. Shalom ways. Grace. Mercy. Love. Charity. These go far beyond either/or. They make room for something that either/or can’t comprehend — enough.

Originally published at https://pastormatthewbest.com on March 23, 2023.

Pastor Matthew Best

My name is Matthew Best. I’m an ELCA (Lutheran) pastor who attempts to translate church and churchy stuff into everyday language.