Are You Always Right(eous)?
Arguments. Debates. Quarrels. Words that are the results of what happens when people do not agree with one another. Religion. Politics. Words that often cause those divisions. Jesus. The word most likely to causes arguments, debates and quarrels more than any other. Jesus is also the word that can bring peace to any situation.
I’ve recently heard it said that, “You don’t make peace with your enemies.” This concept, once foreign to me, has now shed hope into how I see reconciling hurt people groups with one another. I sometimes think Christians desire to stop bad things from happening. To prevent quarrels and debates. Yet, Christ came so that we could have peace. Do we need to find peace if it always exists?
Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” I used to think this meant that being around Christians would simply make you a better Christian. Like kind sharpens like kind. Yet, after learning that often time sparks fly when iron sharpens iron, I see a deeper truth in this proverb. Christians are bound to disagree. Those disagreements are what sharpen us. If we always agreed, what desire would any of us have to pursue and teach what we already believe?
My best friend Kevin and I argue ad nauseum. One of our friends once told us we were the “worst best friends” he had ever seen. We can argue about movies and food just as intensely as we argue about Scripture and the things of God. Over the years, I have come to appreciate this sharpening even though sometimes I feel like it would be nice to always agree.
A popular quote attributed to many names says, “When two people are the same, one of them is not needed.” I think about this often when I am frustrated with Kevin during our arguments. If all we ever did was agree. We would never sharpen one another. We would never desire to learn more. We would never get to practice fighting for what we believe in so easily.
Kevin is my best friend. No argument will change that. Good relationships can withstand the smelting process so they can be refined. When something is refined, it is made better. Arguments. Debates. Quarrels. As difficult as they may be to sometimes watch or be a part of are necessary to sharpen us and refine our relationships. Ultimately, I hope that Jesus can be invited into any of those types of situations in order to spread light, truth and peace.
We see Jesus do this throughout Scripture. Even though, Jesus is most often involved in the debates Himself. He is constantly questioned and debated among the scholars and theologians of His time. Never once do we see Jesus respond by saying, “You’re right, I was wrong.” Jesus has all the information. Jesus was never wrong. Jesus walked in love, even around those that hated Him.
Always being right didn’t stop Jesus from yelling or even flipping tables over (Matthew 21:12). Jesus sometimes had to sharpen us by making His point heard. Like a parent who scolds a child for doing something that is potential dangerous. Loudly making a point doesn’t always mean the point is wrong.
Jesus was never wrong. However, you and I are wrong all the time. Believe it or not there have been debates and quarrels you have been involved in that you were on the wrong side of no matter how much you believe you weren’t (or still do). Having strong convictions that lead to great quarrels is not always a sign of strength because God asks His people to be humble and meek. To be moldable to change. To be sensitive to correction.
God wants us to argue with each other sometimes. His greatest peace can manifest only after the largest wars. Yet, for those of us that think we are always right (and I can find myself in that camp often) will struggle walking in love in all situations like Christ did.
When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Mark 2:17
I believe the greatest argument ever to exist is the one where man thinks they know better than God. Regardless of the context. Anytime we argue with God because we think we are right, we have lost. Not only lost the argument, but lost the opportunity to find peace because it is God who provides peace in times of misunderstandings.
In Mark 2:17 above. We see Jesus responding to yet another question of why He thinks He has the authority to spend time and eat with lowly people. His response in my personal paraphrase, “I don’t want to sit with people who think they are always right. I want to sit with those who know they aren’t.”
Christians are not unsusceptible from riding their high horse. Yet, God loves us. Christians can argue and yell as loudly as anyone else. Yet, Jesus dies for us. Christians can know they are right about who Jesus is and still be wrong about how to live their lives in service of His kingdom. Or in how they share His gospel message and teachings with others. Yet, the Holy Spirit will still gently correct us in the midst of our mistakes.
I want to strive to be a man who doesn’t always need to be right. I want to be eating at a table and believe Jesus would want to sit next to me. I want to learn from Jesus not teach Him what I know. I may have found peace and been made righteous through Christ (Romans 5:1), but that doesn’t mean I’m always going to be right. I pray all of us learn to concede the argument anytime we think we know more than Him.
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