i’m right, you’re wrong…or am i wrong?

We must listen to others with knowledge of the possibility
that they are right and we are wrong.
-Stephen Carter

How hard is it to admit we are wrong and the other person is right? Very hard, if you ask me. When I know that I know that I know something and someone comes along and says “you are wrong” and it turns out that they are right and I am wrong then it is extremely difficult for me to admit to wrongness. Why? Pride. Envy. Hubris. Naivete. Low self esteem and worth. Self doubt.

But if instead of looking at how my wrongness effects me, I need to be looking to God for in Him I will find all the self- worth and assuredness I need and being wrong doesn’t matter. But being human this has a tendency to be difficult. As a human living with a fragile self-view, my first thought is always of self, not of God. If God even makes an appearance in my daily round it is because I have not thought of Him first nor called upon Him for help.

Too often I ignore the psalmist who said, “I will lift up my eyes unto the hill from whence comes my Help.” It is bad enough that this is true in my daily living but especially so in the midst of an argument when I am trying to make a point, prove I am right and bolster my self-esteem.

Before I feel that my back is against the wall, and I am, in fact, wrong about something, I need to stop, take a moment, breathe in the Presence of My Lord, and say those simple words, “I am wrong.” Then, bam! The argument is done and we can go on with our daily lives. And then later when resentment rises because I was wrong and the other person right, again I need to take a beat and “lift up my eyes to the hills” and thank God again for His Help to admit my wrongness and granting me the strength to not become angry and bitter over it.

So ingrained in me is the need to be right, I must remind myself on a daily basis that I am not God; I am not perfect; I do not know everything. God is the only Perfect One in this Universe. God is the Only One Who Knows Everything – and loves me in spite of it or because of it. He also loves the other person as much as He loves me. And for that reason alone I must be willing to listen and admit wrongness when necessary. I am not God’s only child no matter how special I think I am.

 

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right vs wrong part 2

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.
And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.
-Dalai Lama

More thoughts on the other day’s topic of not doing wrong simply because it is wrong – my relationship with God is the most important one I have – or will ever have. It is the basis, the foundation for everything else in my life and if it is out of balance or off kilter, then the rest of my life is out of balance as well.

Please note I said ‘my relationship with God’ is off kilter – not God’s relationship with me. His Love for me is unwavering; but my love for Him does waver from time-to-time. Even now after all these years I still get frustrated with Him and the way my life is working. It is only when I shut up long enough that He gently reminds me my frustration needs to be with me and not with Him.

God has gifted me, along with everyone else, the capacity to choose. It is up to me if I choose right or wrong, good or bad, this or that and the result can be entirely my responsibility. That is a tough pill to swallow sometimes, especially when my choice leads me through rough waters. It seems easier, at first, to blame God. After all, if I blame Him (or even someone else) I don’t have to turn the spotlight on me and I won’t have to admit to myself I was wrong.

When I choose right over wrong or good over bad (when the choices are that simple enough) then I remain in right standing with God – not that I was never not in right standing from His viewpoint. But my deep seated feelings about myself do affect my relationship with Him. When I choose wrong over right and I am aware of that choice then it affects not only how I feel about myself but how I feel about myself as I stand before God.

It is for that reason that when I am faced with a choice between right and wrong, no matter how much I want to make the wrong choice, no matter how desirable that choice is, I must, I need to make the right choice. My relationship with God is the single most important thing in my life and I need to treat it with the honor and dignity and respect it deserves. I need to treat myself with the honor, dignity and respect I deserve.

 

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wrong is wrong

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean;
If a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
-Mahatma Gandhi

Humanity was given a precious and singular gift – the knowledge of right and wrong and the freedom to choose between the two. Each person faces the ‘right vs wrong’ decision all the time and the one we choose determines not only our future but our character and integrity as well.

How do I choose between right and wrong? If I am sitting at a stoplight at midnight and the light never changes, just stays green on the opposite side, do I just continue to sit there or do I take a chance and run the light? Well, I wait a few minutes, then look to make sure no one is coming and I run the light. According to the law of man, that was a wrong choice and I could get a ticket for that choice.

The laws of man are a lot simpler than the laws of God. Law enforcement and rules tells us what is right and what is wrong. As with anything thing man attempts to dictate, there are problems within that right vs wrong structure and there are some laws that need to be broken in order to be changed. But the law of man is not my focus here.

What about God’s Law? And what do I mean when I say God’s Law? I’m not referring to the 10 Commandments (although they are included). I am referring when I know within my own spirit that what I am doing is wrong (which may or may not be against man’s law). Maybe it was the time I sneaked a peek on my boss’ desk to see what the latest gossip was so I could spread it around. Maybe it was that pen, or notepad, or some other mundane office supply I took home from work or off someone elses’ desk. Maybe it was money out of the coffee fund I took because I wanted a soda. Every day there are many incidents of ‘little white wrong-doings’ that seemingly hurt no one.

So then, I have a revelation that what I am doing is actually wrong and it is against God’s Law of “love your neighbor and don’t covet your neighbor’s possessions.” And I resolve to stop. But why am I resolving to stop?

Is it because I might get caught? Absolutely! I don’t want to get caught doing something petty but wrong. My reputation would be ruined. People would think differently about me. My life might change drastically in an unpleasant way as a result.

Is it because it might lead me to other, more heinous wrong-doings? Possibly! Stealing post-its and pens and pencils has gotten more than one person in trouble because they thought ‘how easy is this’ and stole more, sold them on e-bay© and were eventually found out. Any step over the line into wrong-doing carries with it the possibility of even greater crimes.

But both of the above reasons should not be the reason to stop any minor or petty wrong-doing. The reason needs to be simply because it is wrong. I shouldn’t take those pens (read: steal) simply because they are not mine; I did not purchase them; it is simply wrong to put it in my pocket however innocuous it may seem. I may have contributed to the coffee fund, but it is not my money for the taking. It belongs to the group. To take it would simply be wrong. And one more example, that sandwich in the office refrigerator looks delicious but I didn’t make it and I didn’t pay for the ingredients so it is simply wrong for me to take it no matter how hungry I am.

Let this be a lesson for me as I go forth from this point in my life – stop doing wrong things simply because it is wrong to do them. No other reasons/excuses allowed.

This is the only way I will be able to look at myself in the mirror and be okay with me. This is the only way I will be able to honestly kneel before the Throne of God and worship Him.

Wrong is simply wrong.

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