Wisdom begins with respect for the Lord,
and understanding begins with knowing the Holy One.
Proverbs 9:10 (NCV)
My dad’s German/Irish family was big and boisterous. They argued about everything! Their banter was usually good-natured, but skirmishes to prove who was right were ongoing.
My Scandinavian maternal family wasn’t nearly as noisy, but they were masterful with non-verbal cues implying, “I’m right!”
Then, there was my faith community. “Being right” often began with the words, “Good Christians don’t…”
I‘m not sure exactly how it happened, but one day not all that long ago, I had this clear awareness of what a high value I placed on ‘being right.’ Immediately following that realization, I sensed the ‘still small voice’ whisper into my spirit, “It’s okay. YOU don’t NEED to be right!”
Oh, Lord, show me how to change my endeavor to be right!
I haven’t won the ‘I-need-to-be-right’ battle, but I’m making progress. Six steps help:
Focus on the rightness of God’s character. Trust God is like the good shepherd who will lead me onto ‘right’ paths.
- Follow the Apostle Paul’s suggestion: …in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests, but…to the interest of others… As I become more aware of God’s image (Imago Dei) within every person, I’m more apt to act in this way.
- Identify my core values. Evaluate whether there’s congruence between my values and actual behaviors.
- Learn more about my personality with its inherent strengths and weaknesses. Again, Paul’s advice is a great reminder: … think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
- Thank God when I recognize personal growth. Acknowledge lapses. Ask forgiveness. Seek God’s help to change.
- Accept God’s grace. Extend grace to others and myself.
Journeys of faith involve spiritual discoveries. Many will demand a personal decision. Will I choose to stay stuck in family or faith traditions? Will I succumb to my own personality? Or, will I listen to the whisper of God’s Spirit suggesting a different way, and choose to trust that God leads me on paths that are right for the good of his name. (Psalm 23:3 NCV)?
Consider & Imagine:
- Consider a scenario in which you may typically feel the need to be ‘right—’ perhaps, a discussion about a family dynamic, public figure, faith, current event or workplace issue.
- Imagine choosing to set aside your need to be ‘right.’ What would be different about the way you communicate? How do you think you might feel about yourself? How do you think the response of others toward you might be different? What do you think God might say to you about your choice?
Thank you for reminding me it’s not so important that I be ‘right.’ Teach me how to relinquish my need to be ‘right,’ and instead, lean into your righteousness.
Blessings to each of us as we explore our need to feel we’re ‘right…’