The Wrongness of Being Right
SEPTEMBER 5, 2023
I know a guy who can’t help but straighten every crooked picture he sees.
He has a brilliant mind, is good at winning arguments and uses those skills to engage every wrong he perceives. He really bugs me sometimes. I think what bugs me most about him is that he’s often right. The second thing that bugs me is that he reminds me of myself. A part of myself that, well… annoys me.
The first time I ever fully realized that being right might be a vice was in a response I got on Facebook a while back. I had posted on my personal page that not everyone believes what we believe, and to expect non-Christians to act like Christians was counterproductive. Someone responded, “Well, that makes them wrong, doesn’t it?”
He was right, but something about the way in which he was right felt very wrong. I couldn’t put into words what it was that I was feeling, but I knew that the way he’d responded wasn’t Christian, even though he is.
Since then, I’ve come to a deeper understanding of how my tendency to want to fix everyone’s bad theology often negates their ability to accept any love from me. It also invites them to pick me apart; find everything nasty about me, and throw it in my face. It obliterates any chance at deep relationship.
Truth matters. I want to be clear that I believe that. But knowing truth, and being wise about when kindness and mercy matter more than correcting theological error or ignorance, is an important skill to hone. Because I want to be right. I want to fix you so much it’s literally painful at times. I’m a sick, sick puppy who’s not near as smart as he thinks he is. But I’m learning that the need to be right on every little thing—even when it comes from noble intentions—obliterates my ability to speak the ultimate Truth.