Thursday, April 23, 2015

Being Right

“When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer.  Then Pilate asked him, ‘Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?’ But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.” (Matthew 27:12-14 NIV)

Someone recently responded to a post I had made on Facebook.  It was a snarky response and I was quick to type out a retort to prove my original point.  But moments after posting it, I had an uneasy feeling.  I was unsettled in my spirit and I knew it had to do with the post.  After a few minutes of reflection, I went back to my computer and deleted it. Why did I feel the need to correct this person?  Why did I feel so strongly about wanting to prove I am right?  

It’s reflexive, isn’t it?  If someone accuses us or challenges a view we hold, we want to immediately defend ourselves.  I find myself doing that with my wife sometimes when she “accuses” me of something like not telling her my schedule.  My first instinct is to say, “I did to!”  

We see this reflexive response in our public discourse of political and moral issues, as well.  Everyone, it seems, has an opinion and is at the ready to defend it.  The lefties say I’m an idiot; well, I’ll show them!  The right-wingers say all lefties are wackos; well, I’ll prove them wrong!  And back and forth they go spewing what really has become white noise because it is so common and often so meaningless.  And I think it all boils down to the felt need to be right. And, of course, it’s understandable because it feels good to know you’re right.  

But what happens when both sides believe they are right?  They battle to defend their positions because it feels so good to be right.  But what does it really accomplish?  It mostly heightens hostilities.  

In order for me to be right, does everyone need to submit to my viewpoint?  Of course not.  The majority can often be wrong, as they were about Jesus in the latter days of His life.  But He did not go down fighting for His point of view.  He let it go because He knew He was right, but felt no need to prove it or have everyone agree with Him.  

There is a lesson here for all of us and one that I applied when I deleted my post: While we are, of course, not always right as was Jesus, we can still emulate Him in His attitude when we do believe we are right. He found it unnecessary to defend Himself when being accused because He knew the truth.  How refreshing!  In the midst of all of the white noise of defense of positions, Jesus encourages us to be silent in our own defense.  It is not natural, but it is what’s desperately needed.

Today, know that if you are right in your opinion, there is no need to defend it.  God knows the truth and that really should be enough for us because it was enough for Jesus.

© Jim Musser 2015

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