[The picture has nothing to do with this blog. I just like my dogs.]
This character defect is something I continue to work on because when you swing from one side of a defect, you often go to the other side of extreme instead of balancing in the middle.
When I was in college and beginning to learn more about God and how to read the Bible, I became passionate about my new-found knowledge. Granted, learning the depths of God is exciting and addicting, but my mistake was assuming everyone was on the same page as me.
I was sure that I had the holy grail of Bible interpretation in my mind and that my mission was to convert everyone to my way of thinking. If they didn’t jump on board, I left concerned for them. It bothered me that they were living lives under false pretenses.
After college, I went to seminary and had the privilege of going to greater depths in my study of God and the Bible. What did it teach me? That God is larger than my own pretenses. The ones that I had come to believe were inerrant.
Life also taught me a thing or two. Getting older and having higher education has humbled me in ways I never would have expected. God is so much bigger than our logic and wisdom. The little He allows us to understand about Himself is the tip of the iceberg to His character and reality.
My favorite professor in the world taught me the valuable lesson that it is the Creed that unites Christians and denominations that divide. God has given us truths about Himself and our salvation that cannot be denied. Those are hills we can die on. He also gave us a lot of grey areas in scripture.
Musician, Rich Mullins, said in one of his concerts, that when studying the Bible, he has come to believe it’s to show us that “God is right and the rest of us are just guessing.” Yes, there are better, more error-proof ways of studying the Bible, but there are things in there we can’t ultimately prove with our finite minds and the information God has given us.
I say all this to explain my defect of always having to be right. I have learned through life experience, seminary, and counseling that the best thing we can do for people is to listen. Let them have an opinion. Don’t freak out about them walking away with a “false” idea in their heads. Leave that to God.
When we allow people to be right and wrong without berating them, we give them the freedom to think over new ideas and decide for themselves what they believe. God is just so powerful that He can lead people to the truth without us owning someone in a theological argument.
And this leads to the other side of the character defect. Don’t feel like you have to always be right… but don’t lose your voice either. The great thing about letting others have their opinion is that you get to have one, as well! When we listen to each other and respect one another’s opinions, that’s when a conversation can really get rolling. That’s when good friendships are made. It’s where truth can be shared, thought over, and possibly accepted. It’s the power of God connecting people to each other and letting them leave with blessings instead of division.