“Do you always have to be right?”

In the course of building this post, I made 18 revisions to it, all of them because I didn’t convey the right message. I clicked ‘Publish’ on this posting some two months ago, and it’s been bothering me ever since.

Well, I’m going to have one more run at it this morning, because with time, I think I may finally have the proper perspective. It’s a quiet, rainy morning (some two months later) and the right words are finally coming.

First:
I can finally say that this judgmental statement was uttered with the deliberate intention to hurt. (And the punch carried plenty of extra weight, because this person is respected in his church.)

It has been on my mind ever since, and worse yet, it interfered with my prayer life; getting between me and God. I literally could not get into my quiet time devotions because this was in front of me.

I have been examining myself ever since, and have put lots of prayer into this. And here’s where I am: God brought me to this point in my life to write. He gave me a curious mind, and the ability to share what I’ve found. Reflecting the title of this posting, I actually enjoy being wrong.

Wait, what?

I enjoy being wrong, because it is an opportunity to learn, and to pass along what I’ve learned. Maybe I can help someone save some time, avoid a mistake, or even more, to avoid being hurt or injured.

Second:
I believe that we all have gifts from God, and to deliberately misuse these gifts is a grievous sin.

From 1 Peter 4:10:

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Notice: ‘to serve others’, not to judge others. The only time we get to judge anyone is if they are in our employ (for instance, when I was running television crews, I had to judge performance and adherence to the script on a moment-by-moment basis) or if they are our slave. Seems safe to say that neither case applied here.

Third:
What you say in a heated moment reveals a lot about the darkness in your heart. This is also why I don’t care to listen to every-day political stuff. This got the Ephesians into really hot water with Paul.

From Ephesians 4:

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Pretty rough treatment from Paul, there.

Since we’re also talking about gifts here, one of the other ways I’ve been wired to do things also kicked in and ran like a computer program:

I connect things.

I suddenly saw the connection from this person thinking he recognized something in me (because we see our own faults in others first); and it ran along to other things:

The need to be right is only the visible tip of an iceberg.

If you have to be right, then that means you stop listening to others when their point of view disagrees with yours.

Here’s where I try hard to differ with this person: You listen, you learn about the world around you, you learn better ways of doing things. But you have to listen to the person’s whole point of view!

But what if I find I disagree with you? Should I stop listening there? Of course not. We’re all entitled to our own opinions; this is one of the very few entitlements in this world. Besides, unless I listen, I’ll never learn anything new.

Just because I might disagree with you doesn’t give me the right to stop listening and start arguing with you in some high-handed pretense of making you change your mind.

And please notice that you have to stop listening in order to think up clever-minded ‘zingers’, like the above. There’s also the aspect of simple human respect.

Cultivating this churlishness has a subtle and destructive effect upon your personality, beginning with attempting to find a way to disagree about every little thing. Quickly you graduate to being unable to accept favors, advice, and works offered in love. Eventually, nobody wants to be in your presence for fear of being judged.

Being unable to accept others the way they are builds neither your faith nor your wisdom; nor the faith of your brothers and sisters. God does his best work with open hearts and open minds.

I am forgiving you for failing to listen to me, for failing to honor the person that I am, the way that God made me; different from you. It’s a long process, as evidenced by the need to go back and edit this post.

Eighteen times. Strike that; Nineteen.

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