Have you ever had a moment where you were called together with others to work on achieving a common objective?
Of course you have. Everybody has been a teammate, a classmate, a coworker, or — at the most fundamental level — a child of God.
And have you ever failed to achieve that objective, not by any fault of your own but because someone on your team did not fulfill his or her responsibility?
It’s not a good feeling, is it? To fail at something is a bitter pill to swallow. To fail when someone else has held you back is much more difficult to choke down.
But have you really completed your part of the assignment? Have you fulfilled your responsibility? Have you done all that you can do?
Let’s pretend for a moment that you are perfect, and that you have never done anything wrong — which, of course, is not possible. Even in such a scenario, you can still fail as a member of a team if your team does not succeed.
Let’s first examine why we get upset when “someone else” causes us to fail.
- Some of us fear embarrassment.
- Others have fierce pride or a superiority complex.
- Still others have a compulsion for perfection.
- And then there are those who want to do something nice for others. But even in instances like this, we still have selfish desires that seek satisfaction. When doing for others, what matters is not how we feel about the result of our failed efforts, but how the intended recipient feels.
I’m sure there are more reasons for getting upset, but you get the point. Which is to say: there’s something inside of us that seeks pleasure in our hard work leading to accomplishment.
Now let’s look at what the Bible says about working with others.
In Romans 15:1-2, the apostle Paul writes that we are not to ignore our failing brother in order to delight in ourselves.
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.Romans 15:1-2
Rather than seek to find pleasure in the fruits of our labor, we should focus on the amount of success that two or more can complete, so says Ecclesiastes.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Although God blesses us each individually with our own unique talents and skills, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and each of us is a part of the body with Christ as our head.
so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.Romans 12:5
Think about the human anatomy. The hands have a very specific function, just as the feet do. The knees and elbows are different from the hips and thighs. The heart and brain are unique from the kidneys and stomach. Each has a responsibility to make the body thrive.
Similarly, if any of our brothers or sisters falters, don’t think of them as failures and dump your frustrations upon them. Help them along until the job is complete, and then you will truly thrive.