The other night, I watched an episode of the show “Modern Family” where Claire falls in the grocery store and blames her husband Phil for tripping her. The episode ends with her sitting her family down to watch the video footage from the store where she fell.
Haley (her daughter): “You went to all that trouble just to prove you were right?”
Claire: “It wasn’t really that much trouble. I just went to the store, found your friend Jordan the bag boy, who got me the manager. He gave me the address of the off-site security office. I filled out some paperwork. Sally faxed it to corporate. Three minutes later, I’m buying a pack of DVDs and burning a copy. Cake.”
Luke (her son): “It’s like a sickness.”
While humorously depicted here, I think this is a sickness from which all too many of us suffer. We may start out sharing truth but when it becomes a crusade to prove we are right, I believe we’ve crossed a line. If you were to ask my family, they’d say that I all too often become caught up in “being right.” From my perspective, I love knowledge and learning and truth. I love it when I understand a new concept and I want to share that with others. But all too often I get swept up in the excitement of a new idea and end up causing more harm than good.
I fail when my hammering in of my point becomes louder than the truth I’m trying to share.
I fail when I cross the fine line of wanting to share truth to wanting to prove I’m right.
My daughter and I read the book Wonder for a school book club. A quote by Wayne Dyer shared in the book that resonated with me was “When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.” While I wanted to adopt this as a principle, at first I struggled to understand how to marry this quote with my deep respect for truth. But the story of Claire above made me realize it’s not about denying truth but instead about denying my crusade to “be right”.
When I first accepted Christ as my savior, I struggled with this a lot. I was excited by what I now knew and in that excitement, I failed. I failed when I made proving I was right more important than loving those around me. 1 Corinthians 13:1 says “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” It saddens me that all too many times I have become a “resounding gong” to those around me. And it saddens me when I see other Christians making that same mistake. I’m sad because I know that people end up seeing our sickness more than the truth of Jesus Christ.
I pray that as I go forward my hammering doesn’t make me deaf to God’s whispering to remember it’s not about being right.