Always right

September 12th, 2014

I wonder how many of us are consumed with being right more than anything else. Don't get me wrong. I am one of those people. I love being right. I'm thankful for smartphones, Google, and IMDB to settle arguments with friends and to further affirm that I'm always right.

But I often have to pause and ask, what do I gain from that? Aside from a sense of satisfaction and a bigger ego, I can’t really think of any benefits that go beyond self. In fact, my insistence that I’m always right can put strains on relationships. After all, nobody likes a know-it-all and nobody cares to be around someone who insists that they're always right.

Yet, I feel at times that’s the vibe that we put out to others. We're more consumed with being right than being loving. There's a scene in Acts where Peter and John are facing interrogation from a council of priests for performing a healing for a lame man. After being asked by what power or by what name did they do the healing, Peter and John replied, "If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man..." (Acts 4:9, NIV). That line struck me because the priests were more concerned about how the miracle was performed rather than what John and Peter called, "an act of kindness."

Quite often, we're far more concerned with our version of orthodoxy than showing an act of kindness. This becomes evident when we get into debates and arguments about theology, God, the Bible and anything religious. Those discussions can quickly degenerate into trying to prove just how wrong the other person is (and therefore proving just how right we are.)

Paul warns us that “knowledge makes people arrogant but love builds people up” (1 Corinthians 1:8). But proving that someone is wrong can be easier (and feel better) than building that someone up. Edifying someone takes much more effort (and love) on our part.

It's my belief that God doesn't call us to be right, but to be righteous. More than being obsessed with being right, God wants us to be right with God by doing justice, embracing faithful love, and walking humbly with God.

Recently, my District Superintendent, Cedrick Bridgeforth, came to preach at my church. He shared a story about his Bible professor, who was far more liberal than the school he taught at. Every year there was a group of people who would try to trap him into saying something that would get him fired.

DS Bridgeforth talked about one moment in class when the professor, after being asked question after question, asked his antagonist, "Young lady, what is it that you want from me?"

"I want you to tell me that I am right."

"Well, you are. You are right."

"I knew it!"

The professor then added, "It's such a small thing to be right when what God requires of us is righteousness."

May we let go of our insistence on being right all the time and instead, seek righteousness with our whole heart.

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