Following the conclusion of the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics, President Russell M. Nelson described the difference between “healthy competition and any kind of destructive contention.”
“It is possible to disagree with others without violating the Savior’s injunction to ‘love one another, as I have loved you’ (John 15:12),” he wrote. “It is possible to have a different opinion than your neighbor while still loving that neighbor. It is even possible to ‘compete’ in a spirit of mutual respect that brings out the best in everyone.”
In a Facebook post, the President of the Church shared his hope that individuals around the world would learn from the examples of the more than 11,000 athletes competing in Tokyo in “demonstrating friendship and respect even as they compete against each other.”
He shared a personal experience that highlights the benefits that can come from focusing on the “real competition” we face.
“I was among those who worked to develop an artificial heart-lung machine, which in turn helped in the pioneering of open-heart surgery. There was a great spirit of cooperation and respect among the few of us working in that new area of medical research. We knew that our real competition was against disease and death. Our cooperation in the race to pioneer new medical procedures literally saved lives,” he wrote.
How can individuals eliminate contention that has entered their lives? President Nelson suggested that they “embrace the Olympic ideals of excellence, friendship and respect.”