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Being “Right” is Not What We Really Want


If you’re a Downton Abbey fan (keep reading, even if you're not), you might be ready to slap Miss Bunting silly by now. I mean, come on! If she’s not a fight-picker, I don’t know who is.

But here’s the thing: I agree with a lot of her views. I like her way of thinking. Sarah Bunting stands for what most of us want–liberty, equality, opportunity, choice. Bravo Bunting!

This school teacher also likes what we all like, and that is to be “right.” But many of us have figured out that “being right” can do more harm than good for a relationship.

Or can it?

I’m rethinking this “being right” thing, and this is what I’ve concluded:

It is perfectly okay to be right. It is fine to know within yourself that your view makes more sense. Your method works better. Your arguments are more reasonable and smart than the non-thinker next to you.

There is nothing wrong with being right.

The problem arises when we need others to know we’re right.

Why is that? Why this feverish need to prove a point?

Why can’t I be okay with being perceived as an idiot, as long as I know I’m in fact, not an idiot?

I believe a true test of spiritual maturity is quietly allowing oneself to be misunderstood. The strong person is willing, for the sake of relationship, to be judged and misjudged time and time again. She does not need others to know she is right.

Here’s a challenge: Unless you’re a hermit, you may have opportunity today to be “right” about something. Enjoy it! Revel in the knowledge that God gave you the wisdom and intelligence to understand something that someone else may not yet see, and may never see. (Even Jesus commended his followers for being right about what the church was getting oh-so-wrong.*)

And then shut. your. mouth. Walk away and be the idiot. Take a deep breath and then go buy the person flowers or offer to wash their car. Maybe even hug and kiss them. Because there is no destroyer of smugness like a loving action.

And know within yourself it is always much better to be wise than right.

*See Luke 10:21

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