How To Be “Right!” Without Destroying Everyone Around You

Sometimes the conviction that you are “right!” makes you look pretty silly.

Once in Luxembourg we went to McDonald’s after the afternoon church service. As we crossed the parking lot, there was a man standing near the entrance with a small child next to him. The man was yelling.

“Don’t go in there. These people lie. They promise you toys, then they say that they don’t have it!” Evidently he was mad because Old Mickey D had promised something for the kids and they said they didn’t have any more in stock. I suppose he was convinced they did.

So, there he was in front of McDonald’s, carrying on like a three-year old deprived of his candy. I felt sorry for his child. Poor kid. I wonder if he felt worse because he didn’t get his toy or because his dad was in front of McDonald’s throwing a tantrum.

One thing, though. The man was “RIGHT!”

We’ve got to be careful about being “right!” People who are “right!” have torn marriages apart. They’ve blown up the unity of churches. They’ve turned workplaces into war zones. In extreme cases “right!” people have set young men marching and killing other young men because they are “right!”

“Right!” fathers have made life miserable for their family. They run their children away by their bullheadedness. “Right!” mamas have turned happy homes into minefields. You’ve got to tiptoe by them or they’ll blow up in righteous indignation. If feels so good to be “right!” I’ve been there often.

Recently, I subscribed to a service here in France and they promised me a gift for subscribing. Ten months later, a half-dozen phone calls or so, and a (polite) letter, I still hadn’t gotten my gift. And I got mad. I came to the point that I didn’t care so much if I got my prize, but it was the principle of the thing. They shouldn’t have promised if they weren’t going to do it. I was going to harass them until they kept their promise. I wondered if I should threaten legal action.

Then suddenly I flashed back to my buddy, standing in front of McDonald’s, yelling like a dummy. I felt the Lord speak to me. “Drop it. You shouldn’t lose your peace over stuff, especially stuff that you don’t particularly need. Forgive them and go on.”

Something in me wanted to say something, but I kept seeing that fellow in front of McDonalds and what an idiot I had thought he was. So, I dropped it. (Not long afterwards I received my gift from the company with the promise of a free month of service for my inconvenience).

It’s also true that,“Right!” people have stood up and set things in order when others had simply learned to live with injustice. “Right!” people have said “no,” when the rich and powerful ran over the poor and weak. The voices of the prophets of God rang and still ring with the righteousness of the Lord.

So, when it is wrong to be “right!” and when is it right? And how do you express your “rightness?”

Here’s some ideas. Can you add any?

1. Some things aren’t worth a fight. Some are. Decide if this is a bedrock issue or just a personal preference disguised as something important. If I don’t say anything will the results be earth-shaking?

2. If I have to bloody others to have my rights, is it worth it? If I have to destroy relationships, is this really God’s idea? My relationship with you is more important than the world operating exactly as I think it should.

3. Am I standing up for what’s right or just taking off on someone, trying to punish them?

4. Do I avoid confrontation, even when I know that someone should say something?

5. Am I constantly mad because of a “rights!” issue? Any courageous person will have to stand up from time to time, but if we’re often fighting there’s a good chance that we’ve become the center of our world, the all-knowing last word on everything. That’s a miserable place to be because someone will always be walking on our rights.

6. Do I find myself mad at God because He won’t act the way I believe He should?

Two of my favorite preachers, T.D. Jakes and Andy Stanley have both remarked that God isn’t fair. Listen to Jakes, “Favor ain’t fair. God is just but He’s not fair… God gave you favor for His divine purpose.”

Is it fair that God makes some tall, dark and handsome and others short, silly and ugly?

But, each of us is made for a specific reason. How can I claim my “right!” before God when the King of Heaven laid aside all His rights for me?

I heard a story about a business meeting in a church. An argument burned hot and one young man was the center of the heat. He stood and said, “I’m going to have my rights!” An old man seated next to him muttered, “If you’d had your rights, brother, you would have been crucified on a cross.”

According to the story, on hearing this the young man sank into his seat with tears and the church concluded the business quickly. I guess the bottom line is that we have to decide if our “right!” is prophetic or just the childishness of a man yelling about a toy in front of McDonald’s. Then we have to decide the appropriate response.

But, in deciding our response we need to think all the way through the consequences of our action. It could be that the consequences are worse than the thing that bugs us.

Pastor Mark Rutland looked back on his 64-years and made this observation, “Should time travel be mine and were I to be back in the land of 21, I would be kinder and less concerned with being right. Too many young adults give little thought to kindness. “They Twitter hurtful words like poisonous birds. Their humor is mocking, acidic and unkind. And they are more concerned with being thought clever than with being kind. The value of gentleness has declined on the world market; if I were 21 again I would wish to know the worth of a kind word.” (Charisma News Online)

People who are right do a world of good. People who are “Right!” tear things apart. What kind of ‘right’ are you? ______________________________

Hummm … Perspective; My son Steve noted on Facebook, “Pre-season football is on. (His son, 12-year old) Matthew said, “Finally, it’s been six months”. My daughter-in-law, Paula, walked into the room where they watched and said, “Football already?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *