Pause for thought: "..in humility count others more significant than yourselves."
The majority of Welsh rugby fans are in shock this weekend. The idea that Italy would beat Wales, in Cardiff was unthinkable, and yet that was what happened, and the Italians deserved the win. Thinking about it afterwards I wonder if one of the reasons we lost is that we had got a bit arrogant. We assumed we were better than Italy, and because of that did not show respect to the Italian team in our game plan or in the effort that was made in preparation and play.
I guess at times we are all guilty of feeling a little superior to other people. We perhaps judge others’ situations or can look down on others because they’re not quite like us. It makes us feel better about ourselves. Even in our charity and generosity we can feel that we are somehow superior to those we are helping. Before and after the match I noticed the homeless people on the streets around the city centre and remembered the example of someone who I used to know. He was a man who had power, money and position, and yet when I was walking through London with him one day he didn’t walk by and ignore the homeless woman who called out to us, nor did he throw some change at her. He stopped, crouched down and talked with her, listening to her just as carefully as he listened to all the important people he came into contact with. He offered to buy her a sandwich and a drink, and took the trouble to find out what she actually liked. He treated her with dignity and respect, not condescension.
I was reminded of how Paul encouraged us to treat people in Philippians 2.
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (ESV)
Jesus had every reason to feel superior but chose not to. Out of love he chose to serve, even washing the feet of the disciple he knew was shortly to betray him.
It wasn’t all arrogance on Saturday – there was a lovely moment where Welsh winger Josh Adams gave away his Man of the Match medal to one of the Italian players who he felt deserved it more. I’m still gutted about the result, but I’m taking the reminder to treat people with respect into the coming week.