When it happens, are you prone to think like I do sometimes?
I feel hurt. I feel embarrassed. I was wronged. I didn’t deserve that. I wouldn’t have acted that way.
Sounds like a lot of I statements, doesn’t it?
It’s natural to think of our own thoughts and feelings during conflict, and we usually think we’re right. At least I tend to.
Proverbs 21:2 tells us that
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.
It’s a struggle to get past our own feelings of being right in a conflict when our own feelings and ideas are so real to us. But the Lord hasn’t asked us to always be right in our relationships.
He has, however, instructed us to be loving.
Recently a visiting minister spoke at our church. He is a gifted evangelist and often says just the thing that is needed at the time.
While firing off applicable truths about the battles we face as Christians, he said something along the lines of “Maybe God let’s you go through trials in your relationships so He can see if you can be loving even when you’re right.”
Yep, that one hit me.
My husband and I have talked about how I think I would have enjoyed the challenge of being a trial lawyer. I find debates exciting, and while I know my weaknesses and can see my mistakes, there’s a keen interest in me in doing and being right in my thoughts and actions.
These can all be positive traits when channeled the right way.
They can also be damaging to relationships when let loose without restraint. When I’m certain that I’m right, I can struggle with being loving.
I can be too heavy on justice, and a little light on mercy.
No other relationship brings out our strengths and weaknesses so keenly as marriage. I am completely in love with my husband and thoroughly convinced that no one has a man as great as mine (and I hope that you other wives reading feel the same about yours!).
We have a genuine commitment and love for one another, and I would be miserable without him. But just like all healthy marriages, sometimes we misunderstand each other, sometimes we disagree, and sometimes we do things that unintentionally hurt the other.
I have started to realize that when those conflicts pop up, I find it so very easy to focus on me and my rightness rather than the overall unity in our marriage. Rather than keep my mind focused on redeeming the love and unity in our relationship by understanding my husband better, I can tend to veer into reasons why I’m right and how I was the one who was wronged.
Instead of fighting for us, I can fight for me.
If I pull out some of my strong, persuasive debate tendencies, it can really set things off down the wrong track. Once I get my mind set on my rightness, it almost always overflows into my words and actions.
Then, I’m not so right anymore. I’m selfish.
It can feel so hard to choose to be loving even when we are right. It’s far easier to get puffed up in pride and think less of the person who is in the wrong, be it a husband, a friend, or a family member.
I have not arrived at some level of success here. This is something I have to be on guard against and watch out for. I don’t want to be so focused on my perceived righteousness that I lose sight of the unity in my marriage, friendships, family, or other relationships that’s at stake.
Love is so much more valuable than being right.
Do you ever struggle with being kind and loving, even if you’ve been wronged?
This post was originally published in December 2012, but has been reworked and updated so that it can be shared again with you.