I Am Right and You Are Wrong
I came across this photo a couple weeks ago as part of The 45 Most Powerful Images of 2011. The caption reads:
Christians protect Muslims during prayer in Cairo, Egypt.
As I paused to reflect on the image and all it means, I was reminded of something else. Sadly, there are those in my own faith and a certain brand of Christianity that would take issue with the thought of protecting Muslims. Because, after all, we are “right” and they are “wrong”.
It seems some people can’t move beyond this lowest level of thinking. It consumes them. They are always out to prove their “rightness.”
- Our political party is right and yours is wrong, on all accounts. And, because of our self-convinced and overwhelming “rightness” we certainly won’t budge on any issue.
- Our method of “doing church” is right and yours is wrong. Our tradition, song, worship style, discipleship model… all of the above.
- Our theological position on (insert just about any issue here) is right and therefore yours is wrong. We have Scripture on our side to prove it.
We throw down the gauntlet with a chip on our shoulder, daring anyone to challenge us. Well, maybe it’s not that bad but all of us are guilty of this unloving attitude on some level.
How many times has a mere disagreement between spouses escalated to full-blown argument as it moves beyond the issue at hand into the territory of who is right and who is wrong? All my childish efforts to prove I’m right usually require someone else to be wrong. But at what expense? A deep cost in relationship and much much more.
It’s ironic that the overarching narrative of the Bible is that God wants relationship with his people and they with each other. In light of this truth, “being right” is of relative little importance. It’s easy to miss the heart of God as we trumpet our position on the various issues.
Are we so insecure in our beliefs that we must clamor (most of the time very loudly) for validation? That is usually what is at the core. The need for someone else to affirm us. When we’ve been affirmed by Christ and have truly embraced it, there’s no need to go about attacking or defending.
The older I get, the less concerned I am with being right. I don’t have to defend anything. It just is what it is. I don’t feel the need to correct all the time. I can disagree with others and still be in relationship.
Of course, I’ve not arrived. I just have a growing disdain for this attitude in the political arena and especially amongst my own brothers and sisters. I hate it most of all in me. With love, temperance, and grace I hope to grow out of it completely. If that’s not possible (I’m not sure it is), at least I want to recognize it way in the distance so I can abandon it before too much harm is done.