Wednesday, November 12, 2014

When Being RIGHT Is Not Enough

Being right is one of those rights some of us defend at any price. When we feel we have been treated unjustly and the person does not want to admit it, we go to court so others can prove that we are right. When we think we have the biblical truth, we want to prove others that they are wrong. When we think that someone has done a mistake, we take it as our duty to point out the mistake. More than that, when someone wrongs us, we do not waste any effort to prove to them that we have the right to be treated right.

There is nothing wrong with being right. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to be right. But to be right it is not enough. Being right without humility leads to arrogance. And truth without love kills.

To have the truth is not everything. What we do with it matters even more. People should be attracted to the truth. But a lot of times they are not. Why? There are different reasons, but I want to talk only about one of them. Because we use the truth and the Bible to humiliate people, to prove how wrong they are and how good we are. In 2 Selected Messages, 328 we are told: "Read your Bible with much prayer. Do not try to humble others, but try to humble yourself before God, and deal gently with one another." When we use the Bible as a weapon and a mean to humiliate others, we are not doing Christ's work.

The Bible was not meant to be used with harshness, neither was it meant to be used to support our own ideas. But many of those who think that they are always right feel free to apply its teachings as to support their erroneous ideas.

Someone once talked to a young man who was spending a lot of time with a young girl, but with no intention to pursue her further. When confronted with his behavior, the young man told that Jesus spent time with the Samaritan woman (mind you, He was not a very close friend of hers, neither was He spending time with her behind closed doors) and He was also good friends with Mary and Martha (mind you, He was not spending time daily with them or telling them His heart's deepest secrets).

We have all met people who are ALWAYS right. People who, when confronted with something somebody else thinks it is wrong, do not search their heart to seek the truth, but instantly try to bring excuses as to why they are right, cause they HAVE to be right. It does not even enter their minds that they could be wrong. As we have seen already, they can even find biblical verses to back up what they do. Right or wrong, it takes a lot of humility to search your heart and admit the possibility that you might be wrong.

I once talked to a church leader who made fun of one of his members behind his back. I told him that such a behavior is not honorable for him, no matter what the member did (especially since the member did not do anything against him). He started to tell me how much he has to suffer the consequences of this member's behavior. I told him that Jesus has to suffer the consequences of his (this leader) behavior, too, but He does not make fun of him. And that we need to strive to be like Jesus. He tried to tell me that it is not the same thing... (Right, Jesus suffers because of him, much more than he has to suffer because of this member. But obviously he did not understand this.). He kept on excusing his behavior, so I chose to leave things at that, because I realized that, no matter what I said, he will keep on bringing excuses. I do not need to tell you what happened to my respect for that leader...

Sometimes, when you are right, it is wiser to leave things as they are, because if there is no humility, people will not accept that they can be wrong. It is only the Holy Spirit that can convict people of sin. And sometimes, people refuse the work of the Holy Spirit for a time. I learned this valuable lesson from my dear husband. He once had to talk to someone about something they have done wrong. I asked him how was the conversation. He does not like to give me details about such personal talks. The only thing he told me was: "I told them my point of view, but they could not understand it. It was like we talked two different languages. So I left it to that. I did not insist because it would have led nowhere." Praise God for wise husbands!!!

We have the right to be right, we need to tell the truth, but we also have the right to be humble and wise in dealing with people who are wrong. I know people who have pushed away all the people around them, who are lonely and miserable because they always think they are right. They feel it is their duty to convict people of sin. But they NEVER accept reproach. They always have an excuse for their behavior. And I feel sorry for them cause, even though they might have the truth, they are still wrong. They might have the right concept, but they have the wrong attitude.

That leads me to another point. It is not our duty to convict people of sin. This is not one of the duties God gave us. It is only the duty of the Holy Spirit. This does not mean that we should not talk to people about things they have done wrong. But we need not play the Holy Spirit with them. If they do not accept our reproof, it is either because the Holy Spirit is not working through us or they are rejecting the voice of the Holy Spirit. And we should be wise to leave it to that and allow the Holy Spirit to work in His own time and peace. But we need humility for that. And if it is missing, we will push things on people until we will drive them away from us. The next thing we do is that we will tell ourselves that we are so holy and so right that we are persecuted from within the church. I am not denying the existence of the persecution from within the church, but I believe that part of it comes as a result of our lack of humility and wisdom, of us trying to play the Holy Spirit and convict people of sin.

I can just praise God that He gave gives us the right to be right and calls us to be humble, and wise, and compassionate. When Jesus asked us to learn of Him, He did not ask us to learn because He is right, but because He is meek and lowly in heart. As long as we are humble, wise and compassionate, being right will be a blessing for ourselves and for others.

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