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On Being Right

by Inge Anderson

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"But why is it so important to you to be right?" Matt's voice queried through the receiver at my ear. And I spluttered, "But, but. . . it's not, it's just that . . ." But I knew he had sensed something in our two-hour dialogue on my tale of woe that I had not been willing to acknowledge.

"Remember that I'm also hearing what you're not telling me," he had said earlier when he had made me wince as he used the word "pride" in passing. Now the irony hit me. One of the central tenets of our discussion lists on GLOW is that it was more important to be loving than to be right, and yet I had been caught in the snare even while I was concerned with the health of the lists.

Somehow, as Christians, we seem to read John 13:35 as, "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you are right before one another."

Where did we ever pick up that idea? Search the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and there is not a shred of evidence to support the idea that salvation comes by being "right." But I believe it has been Satan's studied effort to ensnare in the net of "self-rightness" those he could not entice by self-indulgence. And thus we have the "conservatives" and "liberals" each bent on their own method of refusing to enter the "narrow gate" of Christ's grace -- the way of giving up on self and acknowledging our un-rightness, throwing ourselves only on His mercy, crying, "Lord what do you want me to do?"

And in the process of being "right," too many of us are bent on setting our neighbors "right" as well. But to what purpose? Will their "rightness" save them any more than it will save us?

We like to defend our being "right." After all, we are so much more "right" than the next person -- especially when we are dealing with "principles." But the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) principle should cause us to look at Christ when he was accused. He was right. He could have spoken in His own defense. But He knew it would serve no useful purpose, so he kept silent. Yet, when I find myself in a far less clear position, I can't seem to stop myself from trying to justify myself. I have so *far to go to be like Him!

The spirit of self-justification began with mankind's first sin in Eden. When the Lord asked Adam for an account of his behavior, he justified himself saying, "The woman You gave me caused me to eat." And Eve, equally 'right' in her own eyes said, "The serpent You made caused me to eat." Justifying self put the blame back on God.

The way back to the Eden restored is through the reverse confession, "I have sinned, and You are righteous, O God."

We don't have to be "right." We only have to admit to being "wrong."

Thank God for His unspeakable love and forgiveness!

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