Some days I would rather be right than be like Jesus. There, I said it. And even if you weren’t thinking it, I’m sure you’ve felt this way before.
If you’re human (and I’m pretty sure you are), then at one time or another you’ve felt you are right. It’s natural to feel your opinion is right, your perspective is right, your facts are right, and your approach to problem solving is right. Even when you your stance on controversial topics is “I am not fully qualified to have an opinion,” that is still a stance you feel is right.
We need to have a certain measure of rightness in society to provide structure and healthy boundaries. There is rightness of behavior that prevents physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. There is rightness in morals to prevent undue pain and suffering. There is rightness in basic math so we can all agree on exact change when we purchase a pack of gum.
But, it’s easy to get caught up in the feelings of rightness because rightness can give us a false sense of security. If we are right, we cannot be challenged. If we are right, we do not have to look any further at ourselves. If we are right, we don’t have deal with any difficult emotions.
It’s alluring. Pretty soon we manipulate our sense of right to fit our personal circumstances. The seductive pull can bring our standards well beyond societal norms and cross into the distorted realm of self-preservation. But, at its heart, rightness is just another word for pride.
Pride isolates us from God and others by assigning our judgment higher than God’s. Make no mistake, judging yourself right is the same as judging someone else wrong. It is the opposite side of the same coin. We often fool ourselves into thinking it’s not so bad, but the coin with tails showing rather than heads still holds the same value.
Instead of focusing on being right we are better off focusing our efforts on getting right with God by getting right with ourselves and getting right with others.
Getting Right with Ourselves
Forgive yourself for your indiscretions, improprieties, and sins.
Sometimes we cling to pride and rightness, not just because we want to avoid being wrong, but because we want to avoid our own shame.
All too often we choose to repeat in our minds the condemning voices of our parents or friends or even society rather than accept God’s forgiveness for our transgression. It’s easy to heap the burning coals onto judgment for ourselves – especially when find it so easy to the same to others.
Instead of offering forgiveness to our very soul, we believe it is right to hold our sin against us. Maybe we feel we are unworthy of forgiveness. Maybe we are not aware that we CAN offer forgiveness to our own self. Maybe it’s just force of habit.
In any case, holding on to anger towards your past actions is a waste of energy and it’s even pride cropping back up. If God has forgiven you (and He does so immediately after you ask), who are you to tell God that you deserve condemnation? If makes you free from judgment, who are you to insist He is wrong? He is the potter, you are only the clay.
Getting Right With Others
Forgive others for disagreeing with you.
For Christians, our number one priority on this earth is to love God and love others. The great commission (of making disciples), rebuking sin, worshipping God, serving others, and giving generously are great practices but only as far as they come from a place of loving God and loving others.
When you argue with someone about minute, mostly irrelevant details, is that done from a place of love or rightness? When you post scathing remarks on social media because someone sinned against you, is that done from a place of love or rightness?
When you tell a member of a different religion that their beliefs are unfounded, is that done from a place of love or rightness? When you tell a fellow Christian they are too liberal or too conservative or too fundamentalist, is that done from a place of love or rightness?
By interacting from a place of rightness we tend to be forceful with our words and actions because we fail to see their hurts and their humanity. Instead, we see only their opinion and our anger against that “wrong” opinion. In our pride, we are holding another’s wrongness against them.
There is certainly a place for rebuking of sin amongst believers. Absolutely. We are called to bring awareness of sin to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.” – Galatians 6:1a
Yet to approach someone humbly, we must first forgive them for coming to a different conclusion than ourselves. We cannot hold anyone’s opinion against them and practice forgiveness at the same time.
Approaching those that disagree with you from a place of compassion and respect for their beliefs is a loving act. Inviting others to examine your opinion and interpretation of Biblical scriptures and stating your opinion as such and even leading them in prayer over the topic are great ways of gentle restoration.
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|Ginny Priz is a Christian coach, writer and speaker. Ginny has overcome her own drama with a prosthetic arm, alcohol, panic disorder, and codependency. She has a passion for guiding others toward the same peace and freedom she has come to experience. Ditching drama is possible for anyone “armed” with God and the Serenity Prayer! It’s never too late to start your own Serenity Journey.|