It seems we are getting more and more bogged down in arguments. We seek to prove our rightness by pointing to the mass of people who agree with us. We seek to prove our rightness by pointing to this person or that person of power who agrees with us. We seek to prove our rightness by appealing to the law, civil or religious. I don’t know if this is a new inclination or if humans have always had this tendency.
But being right does not matter.
I am someone who has always loved to argue. I drove my mom crazy from a very young age because of this (and other things). I would say I am pretty good at winning an argument, maybe too good. I have a skill at convincing people of things they should not be convinced of. I realized this in my teens when I convinced someone we use helium to keep satellites in orbit. It was then I realized I need to be very careful how I wielded my power.
I still love a playful argument and love to go for the logical win that also concedes the other’s point. (The irony is hilarious to me.) For example, the other day a friend told me that her faucet was always dripping. I said “no, it doesn’t always drip.” She disagreed. I said, “between drop one and drop two it is not dripping.” She said “true” and smiled.
I continue to learn that being right does not matter.
Often Jesus was goaded to join a debate, but he did not engage.
Instead he chose a path of mercy.
Jesus was in full rights of Jewish law to stone the woman caught in adultery. Instead he showed mercy. (Jn 8:1-11)
Jesus could wield scripture as good, if not better, than the next guy, but he used it to spread a message of love and mercy.
Jesus’ culture told him that children should not run to a rabbi, but Jesus said let the children come. (Mt 19:13-15)
Jesus could have defined neighbor in such a way to justify limited obligations. Instead his story of the good Samaritan challenged us to be the presence of love and mercy to those in our lives who are in need. (Lk 10:25-37)
Jesus was never concerned about being right.
“Jesus is always on the side of the crucified ones, and I believe he changes sides in the twinkling of an eye. He is not loyal to the person or even less the group; Jesus is loyal to the suffering.”
As followers of Jesus it is our challenge to let go of the need to be right and instead follow Jesus’ example.
As followers of Jesus it is our challenge to let go of the temptation to use argument to let us off the hook and instead follow Jesus’ example.
As followers of Jesus it is our challenge to let the little ones come to us instead of letting our status blind us to their needs.
As followers of Jesus it is our challenge to care for the ones our society deems the lowest as if they are kings and queens instead of seeking the favor of those in power. (Mt 25: 31-45)
Being right does not matter—if you are a follower of Jesus.
Are you a follower of Jesus?