How to win by losing

God saves humanity not by punishing it but by restoring it! We overcome our evil not by a frontal and heroic attack, but by a humble letting go that always first feels like losing. Christianity is probably the only religion in the world that teaches us, from the very cross, how to win by losing. It is always a hard sell. Especially for folks who are into strength, domination, winning, and enforcing conclusions. God’s restorative justice is much more patient, and finally much more transformative, than mere coercive obedience.

— Richard Rohr

American Christianity has a hard time being authentically Christian because strength, domination, winning, and enforcing conclusions are foundational Amercian values and yet the Gospel always leads us away from these to the extent we allow the Spirit to move us and form us into the likeness of the crucified Christ. 

The values of the kingdom of God are those fruits and virtues the Spirit grows in us: trust, hope, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Each of these carries an inescapable vulnerability, that humble letting go of control that is anathema to the American heart, which reserves its love for winners. Christians win by losing. We are only more than conquerors (as Paul calls us) to the extent that we give up our attempts to conquer. That’s how we win. By losing.