Sunday, November 29, 2009
Just Because She’s Wrong Doesn't Mean You’re Right
When you get into conflict with someone, do you automatically assume they are wrong? Or do you step back and take time to reflect on what it is in your position that might be off base?
Author Gary Thomas writes, "Just because someone I'm opposing is wrong doesn't make me right! There are a hundred ways to miss a target."
Do you look at things in black and white? I used to, and still do, often in the heat of the moment. If someone else makes a declarative statement, I’m immediately looking for holes in their logic. Sometimes the holes are big enough to drive a semi through, but I still need to speak the truth in love and not use it as something to hit them with.
Often others don’t think through why they believe what they believe – about anything. (Aw, shucks, In spite of my tendency to be overly analytical, sometimes I don’t evaluate my own logic.) We make passionate, declarative statements about what is or is not true, right or wrong, better or worse and then when someone challenges our position, we get mad instead of listening to their point and considering whether or not it makes sense.
The worst feeling is when, in the middle of an argument, you realize you are wrong. Do you have the integrity to stop and admit it or do you continue arguing because you are driven to win? Do overlook the importance of asking clarifying questions? Listen for the answer? Do we choose to judge the other person's motives or assume how they must feel?
In other words, it becomes more important to be right than to be reasonable. We’d rather ditch the relationship with the disagreeable person than to allow iron to sharpen iron. We’d rather end a friendship than endure their faithful wounds. Or, as our “fight or flight” instincts kick it, we punch them in the nose and run away. Not literally, but often our actions boil down to this level of bullying.
Examples: We change the place we worship because we disagree with a leadership decision. We resign from a board because someone disagrees with our position or won’t act on what we think is a priority. We take our children out of one school and put them in another. We stop speaking to a family member. On the more aggressive side, perhaps we take them to court or write letters in which they could be publically shamed. Being right trumps being righteous. The fear of being humiliated overrules the process of being humbled before God.
Or maybe the shoe is on the other foot. We become so adamant or tenacious that others decide to move away from where we are or engage in any of the aforementioned behaviours towards us.
Does this resonate? What have you done to reconcile with others when you disagree? What scripture has been most helpful? What hard lessons have you learned along the way?