A Millennial’s Thoughts
Being Wrong, When You’re Right
January 9, 2017
There is an eternal desire, an insatiable desire, in all of us to matter, to be good at something, to succeed where we are most passionate, to have loving relationships, and to connect with and know our Lord and Savior. Whether you realize these passions and desires exist within us or not – they do indeed, and we must learn to navigate our lives with the constant competition that exists between them.
Each and every day, the majority of us will struggle to maintain some semblance of control in our day-to-day lives and have a difficult time relinquishing that control (even if we do not have it) as it may affect our passions and desires. We may be asked to complete a task or duty by a co-worker, our boss, an employee, or by God that we see to be contrary to and in direct competition with our passions, desires, and focus. Or, we could be in a conversation with a loved one, or anyone else for that matter, where ‘we know we are right’ and want to maintain control over the details and outcome of that conversation – important or not. Often, we seem to be far better at giving up control and ‘holding our tongues’ when it concerns those who have authority over us (our bosses, the police, government workers, etc.) to dramatically influence our immediate situation financially or otherwise. However, when it comes to our families, our parents, our spouses, and our Lord, we often fail to give up that same control and hold our tongues in a similar manner – especially when we believe, or think, that our position, knowledge, logic, or argument is greater than the other individual’s. We choose to believe that our pride and our thoughts are a holy grail that we dare not lose or surrender unless we can ‘see’ a reason, an incredibly powerful reason, as to why we should. In the case of our work, we will surrender our pride if it means that we can keep our job and provide for ourselves and our families. If it relates to the government and police, we will give up our pride and thoughts so long as we stay out of jail and maintain our freedom where, only on rare occasion, are we willing to compromise that freedom. However, we will hold onto our pride and thoughts with every fiber of our being in most other encounters – both natural and spiritual.
As a result, we often create situations where arguments and divisions remain, where feelings are hurt and tempers are lost, and where we miss out on Godly opportunities purely for our pride’s sake because we believe we are right. The idea follows, then, that we consciously or inadvertently are willing to sacrifice our relationships, our desires, our passions, and our Christian walk simply to be ‘right’ or to claim that we are ‘right’. So, as we struggle for control, for meaning, for influence, for our passions, and for our desires, how do we abide by the Word of God and live in such a way as the Word prescribes in the midst of our pride – of our desires to be right? Let us look to the Word and discover:
In Philippians 2:3 (NKJV), the Bible says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself“.
In the Amplified version, the same verse says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit [through factional motives, or strife], but with [an attitude of] humility [being neither arrogant nor self-righteous], regard others as more important than yourselves.“
In Jeremiah 9:23 (NKJV), the Bible says, “This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches,”.
With these verses in mind, I would like to propose an idea which may seem counterintuitive and wrong by definition: I would like to propose that we ‘choose to be wrong, even when we are right’. One way to understand this statement would be to examine it as a math equation where 2+2=4, however, I am asking you to accept if someone, regardless of who it is (family, friends, boss, coworker, or God), makes a statement, argument, or request that you believe equates to them saying 2+2=5, and choose to agree with them, to do what they have requested, or to take a moment and consider what they have to say without reservation. Simply put, I am asking you to choose to be wrong, even when you believe you are correct.
I am asking that the next time you walk into a situation, begin a conversation, or go to the Lord in prayer, you choose to reserve a portion within yourself that allows for the possibility that you are wrong or that there is a better way to go in action or understanding. Some will surely say that, in ‘their particular situation’, they must fight for what they believe in and not give an inch to the other side. Well, if you are indeed in a life-or-death situation and your ‘right’ thinking and decision matters, then, and only maybe then, should you maintain your position as correct absolutely. However, you begin to walk the line between ‘I am right because I know I am right’, and ‘I am right because I rely on God and His wisdom which I do believe is right and true’: we must always align ourselves with the latter.
You may very well find yourself in a situation where you are offered a new job or position which affords you and your family more financial resources, benefits, time off, and better working conditions but are met in prayer with your Lord asking you not to take the position. In your mind, everything may very well be ‘right’ and surely seems to be so – it seems like an answer to prayer. It seems like the non-stop flight to your destination of a better life, of fulfilling your dreams and passions, yet, you are asked to give that passion and dream up for an unknown reason. What God asks of you instead is to make a decision that seems to move you off the path of success in your life – it seems to move you away from your passions and desires.
In this moment, a moment we will all face in some shape or form, we either choose to humble ourselves before the Lord and accept that we are wrong and do not know what is best, or we choose to believe in ourselves and make a decision based on our own pride and desires. What we must understand is that we do not have the eternal perspective and infinite wisdom that our Lord does. We do not see that by giving up this opportunity and living in our same situation for another year, that you are, in fact, saved from financial disaster as the job you wanted to accept and the company you wanted to join declares bankruptcy and fires its employees. You do not see that God’s step to the left of your ‘perfect’ path was actually a saving grace designed to prepare you and save you for the next and coming step. Here, the only obstacle to that saving grace and avoiding a painful mistake is our pride: do we have enough faith and trust in our Lord? By laying down our pride, we are able to humble ourselves before the Lord as James 4:10 says where He will then lift us up and carry us through the complexities of life.
Similarly, by laying down our pride and humbling ourselves before the Lord and others, we can avoid the hurt, pain, and division that our pride often causes within our relationships and within our lives. So, choose to be wrong even when you are right. Choose to walk into a situation where you know you are absolutely and unequivocally correct, where 2+2=4, but intentionally leave open the possibility that you are wrong and choose first to understand than to be understood. Choose to humble yourself and allow our Lord, our loving Father, to direct your life even when you do not understand how the dots connect. Choose to let your spouse or coworker be right and correct – especially when it truly does not matter. Choose to let love, patience, tolerance, and kindness flow through your interactions for when your pride rules you there will likely be none of these.
Choose to be wrong,
A millennial’s thoughts.