Are You Ready To Go To Hell Being 'Right'?
"For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God." I Peter 2:19-20
I was contacted by someone recently sharing a testimony about learning how to continue in love with others through difficult situations. As someone who may have been quick to take offense before, this was a tremendous victory for them. Yet, part of what made it challenging for them was a belief deep down inside that they in fact were the one who was 'right' in the situations.
Reading this testimony, reminded me of the snares we can set when we think of ourselves being 'right' in relation to another. One thing to keep in mind is that it can be pretty hard for us to truly see ourselves (Jeremiah 17:9; Proverbs 28:26; Hebrews 3:12). It is often a lot easier for us to see the 'perceived' shortcomings of others.
I have learned that a lot of times when I thought I was "right", I really haven't been. It is just that I have been more tolerant & accepting of my own faults than I have been with the faults of others. I was quick to see wrong in others - and be offended by it - while giving very little thought to the error of my own ways.
I don't mean to be crude, but this is a relevant example. When you perspire, you will smell. However that smell is often not as offensive to you as someone else's because you are used to your own stink (so to speak). You can say to a child, "Did you put on deodorant today, because you smell strong?" And they can sniff their underarms and say, "I don't smell anything." Meanwhile, the entire car is about to pass out due to the stench. LOL
Our sniffers may not work so well when evaluating ourselves, but they sure seem to be sensitive when it comes to detecting others. This is why the entire "being right" thing can be a slippery slope.
- We do not always know God's plans, so we may not always know what is 'right' for others in a given situation. If God's will is for someone to go through some sort of trial in order to learn more about themselves and/or God, then the 'right' thing for them to do is go through it. Your 'right' position to help them avoid that situation may be the very thing which impedes their learning the lesson God intends.
- What we often perceive as 'right' or 'wrong' usually has more to do with how we think others are treating us than it does with us perceiving God's will for that person or in that situation. The thought of being 'right' can be from a selfish motivation. We can often default to feeling 'right' (or indignant) when we feel we have been 'wronged'.
- The perspective that we are 'right' can create tremendous, hidden obstacles in relationships because it feeds a root of bitterness in our hearts. As a result, we can become mistrustful of others and may not be able to receive from them, even when God is using them to accomplish good in our lives. We might even become hard-hearted towards the person and be unable to deal with them in love, causing issues with our fellowship with the Father (I John 2:9-11, 3:15, 4:20).
- The view that we are 'right' can lead to self-righteousness. By implication, the thought that we are 'right' means that the other is 'wrong'. Yet, things are rarely that black and white. This attitude can blind us to our own wrongs or to how God is working to bring the other person into a more full knowledge of Himself. Do we trust God enough to allow Him to work out imperfections in others or are we quick to condemn & judge them based upon feeling as if we are 'right'? Are we content to hold on to a grudge thinking someone "owes us an apology" versus deciding to take no offense even if we have cause to? (Mark 11:25-26)
"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Proverbs 14:12, 16:25
Mind you, I am not saying that there is no such thing as right and wrong nor am I speaking of soundness of doctrine. I am saying that there is truly but one person morally 'right' in comparison to others and that is Jesus Christ. Our righteousness comes from Him alone.
Let's take care not to move into the sin of pride as we deal with others, but seek to be humbly led of God in all things. If we remain mindful of God's mercies on our own lives and with our own faults, it will be that much easier to hear from God's Spirit and demonstrate God's love to others, even when faced with their faults...whether they are our children, our spouse, brethren in the Lord, or even the lost.
We can hold on so tightly to the idea that we are 'right' that we can miss out on what God desires to do in & through us, for our benefit as well as the benefit of others.
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." I Corinthians 13:1-7