In Word or Deed / Thoughts

The Need to Be Right

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

When sin entered this world, life was disrupted. It seeped inside of us, and we broke. Since then, we’ve spent centuries documenting the output of that brokenness as well as our attempts to fix the chaos. Nevertheless, the impact of sin continued to create wars, famine, slavery, and so many other atrocities that still plague our societies today. Yet, despite our flaws, God continues to call for us to abide in Him, although the duality of this life presents its challenges. We must search for God’s light while living in the midst of darkness. Once we find it, by God’s grace, we do everything we can to not let the darkness inside of us, but sometimes, we still open the door.

Sometimes, we choose brokenness because this world and all of its things, people, and perceptions are just too important for us to let go. Other times, the burdens are just too heavy and in our weakness, we open the locks. It’s not that we don’t want to grow in Christ, it’s just that the brokenness speaks louder. There is a cost to not remaining firmly rooted in Christ, and we pay for it with our souls. We’ll chase validation from what we can achieve “ourselves” as we disregard the need to become whole in Christ. Conviction grows faint because we find comfort in believing that what we’re doing is right. The truth, however, is that sometimes we’re wrong, and if we aren’t careful, our need to be right will start to consume us.

Our Inability To Listen

Have you ever met someone that just had to be right? I think we can agree that it’s not a pleasant experience. Personally, I’ve been talked down to, yelled at, ignored, and chastised for disagreeing. I’ve watched people seek out others with similar opinions, just to try and prove me wrong. The problem, at the core of these discussions, is not about differing opinions. Edification is not the goal; validation is. We’re trying to protect ourselves from perceived damage to our self-worth and our egos. Such encounters remind me of the Pharisees challenging Jesus. In their eyes, there was no way that they could be wrong, and Jesus be right. Christ told us why this was, in John 8:43-44, when He said:

Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

Who’s Will Are We Abiding By?

Christ’s rebuke of the Pharisees holds true for you and me today. When we are unable to listen to the words of others, it’s a signal that parts of us are rooted in darkness. It’s not that we have to adhere to what everyone else says, but we should be willing to give others the space needed to express differing opinions. Defensiveness protects self but understanding builds bridges. And while most of us like to be right, it is humility that allows us to admit when we’re wrong. If we cannot humble ourselves in such situations then our actions show we have aligned ourselves with darkness. Unfortunately, that means we’re doing the will of the devil.

To do the will of God, Christ must be abiding in our hearts. When this happens, we’re more comfortable with being wrong because we tend to have a healthier level of compassion and grace for ourselves, and hopefully for others as well. Afterall, one person cannot be right 100% of the time. If we were, why would we need the Holy Spirit? He is our guide in the darkness and helps us to strengthen our relationships with Christ. In sin, our minds have been tainted, but with God, our vision gets clearer. We’re willing to listen and participate in dialogue that moves us forward, because positive growth is our priority.

What Does It Say About Me When I’m Wrong?

On the other hand, when we aren’t comfortable with being wrong, we really have to ask ourselves why. We need to understand what is driving our need to be right, and more importantly, to make someone else acknowledge that we’re right. Nevertheless, what’s challenging about this situation, is that it is tough to diagnosis. Introspection is quite difficult, particularly when we haven’t fully addressed our egos and the ways in which we seek validation. We have to ask God to guide us in this journey and open ourselves up to listen to His instruction. It’s a daily choice, and we will stumble, but if we try, God will give us the tools needed to succeed.

Real Life Application

Let’s say a mother no longer knows her daughter’s favorite food. To the mother, this could mean she now thinks of herself as a less than adequate parent. She starts to compare herself to other moms and begins to draw conclusions about her own capabilities and why she’s not more present in her daughter’s life. She overlooks the fact that maybe her daughter has been exposed to new food, while not with her, and that’s why she doesn’t know. The situation spirals and a moment of being wrong has become an emotional crisis. This fictious mom failed to realize that not every wrong answer means neglect or incompetence. Sometimes. it’s just a wrong answer.

Now, to some, this example may be extreme, but we live it every day. When someone ties their personal identity to the concept of being right, you’re attacking the very essence of their soul by saying that they could be wrong. And we know what this feels like to deal with this type of person, and hopefully – we aren’t that person.

We know what it’s like to have someone yell at us for contradicting their information. We know what it’s like to make suggestions, but only the other person’s ideas can be right. Each of us can identify moment, even in those we love, where ego has outweighed logic, and their need to be right becomes abrasive and aggressive. Not all of us believe we’re right about everything, but each of us thinks we’re right about something. Yet if we aren’t careful, our need to be right will turn into a measure of emotional dysregulation that becomes destructive.

It’s Okay to be Wrong

We, however, should find comfort in knowing that we serve a God who is merciful and just. When we’re wrong, it signifies that we have room to grow and learn. We see the value in correction because pride and ego no longer have a hold over us. In this state, we hear the Spirit of Truth more clearly as we submit to God’s will. Nevertheless, should we choose disobedience, it shows that we’ve aligned ourselves with darkness.

In closing, there are times that we will get off track, and need help to get back on the path that God intended for us to take. Proverbs 5:22 teaches us that: Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established. With discernment, we can choose what pieces of advice we take and those we leave behind. On the other hand, those who provide us with counsel should also respect our decisions, whether or not they agree. Being right doesn’t have to consume any of us. With God as our guiding light, we’ll come to realize that it’s His right that should matter to us the most.

#GodBless from #LovesAnAction

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