I have decided that giving up my need to always be right, have all the answers and seek “The Truth” is the only genuine way to follow Christ. I have some sort of inner desire to be right and I am beginning to think it is detrimental to my faith. I know you know what I mean! We all do it. It seems to be part of being human. We choose a side, a team, a church, a faith tradition, a worldview and in choosing we seem to think that we have found the Truth. Unfortunately, in declaring THE truth we also declare all other options as false leaving us defensive, arrogant and oppositional. I am automatically placing myself in a position of self-determined superiority. And what happens when over time things change and it no longer seems like truth to me? Then what do I do? Admit I chose the wrong team to begin with? Try to justify why my church is no longer a good fit? Stick it out and make it fit or make others change? Keep my questioning to myself and slowly fade into fatalism?
Maybe giving up my need to be right is required to walk justly in the world as Christ walked and to live my truth by embracing my limited abilities to know all things.
All my life I have fought against a habit of looking at things as always right/wrong, good/bad, win/lose, black/white, guilty/innocent….etc. I say “fought against” because it seems like a battle to me. When I voice my opinion or my views there’s something inside of me that wants so badly to be right! to win! to be accepted for choosing the right way and find other people who want to jump on board with me.
What if that impetus to be right is the root of dissension and unrest in the world? What if Christ’s example on earth was not to establish clarity and perfection for his followers by showing them the way to discern right from wrong and truth from falseness, but to show us a way to live humbly with imperfection in ourselves and others in an imperfect world? (I am saying WE are imperfect not Christ) To show us an alternative to judging between Jew and Gentile by giving us the good news that it doesn’t depend on us and what we do, who we are or what we think. He came to restore all of us to fellowship with God. Perhaps he doesn’t need us to constantly defend the truth, but rather to live out a life filled with the fruits of the spirit. When I read the recorded actions and words of Christ I don’t find him standing in front of crowds arguing about doctrines and contemporary issues, rather I find him listening to individuals, speaking kindness and forgiveness, meeting their needs physically, emotionally and spiritually. He walks softly, gathers seeking hearts, holds broken hearts tenderly, provides healing.
In Paul’s writing to the church in Galatia, after encouraging them to stick with preaching the gospel of Christ, knowing that only through faith can anyone be blessed, he lists the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, kindness and self-control. He doesn’t encourage them to know the truth and staunchly support it with wise arguments, rather he challenges them to believe that Christ was God, came to love them through sacrifice and to live by the Spirit and not give in to the desires of the flesh which lead to all kinds of conflict and craziness. (See Galatians 5). I memorized verses 22 and 23 at one point because frequently reminding myself of Paul’s vision for how my Christian walk can unfold with God’s help and power is the best way to combat the dualism in my mind. I am thinking that Christ may have come to save me from my drive to choose right from wrong and defend ‘truth’…and instead came to show me a better way to live in a world of crazy-mixed-up voices and to live with inner peace and purpose that comes from following His example and serving. What do you think? I’ll try to listen generously and peacefully.