Everyone has had and will have the experience of being wrong, of making mistakes and of not understanding something well enough to properly represent it. Everyone! The question is not about what to do IF these things happen; the question is how do we handle it WHEN these things happen? Making mistakes and being wrong are never comfortable experiences, but they are priceless in their value if we allow them to be. So, how do we allow them to be priceless? When we are wrong, do we face it or ignore it? When we make a mistake, do we 'fess up or bury it? Further, how can we identify the thought and behavior processes that bring us to wrong conclusions and actions so we can avoid repeating the same old mistakes over and over again?
One of the first things to acknowledge is just how difficult it is to be completely right. Especially for a Christian, being right is not only about subject matter or opinion. Saying this may raise a red flag, and you might be thinking how simple the equation ought to be – if you are right you are right and that’s it! It would be nice if it was so simple, but it is not, especially considering the conditions of our present social communication skills. Being right also has everything to do with how we present our thought, side or opinion as the presentation can build our “rightness” to a high level of respect or tear down our “rightness” to such a degree that our “rightness” becomes a poison to others. If we allow ourselves to think about this, it can really make an impact as our “rightness” now has the potential for both positive and negative value.
The fascinating thing about this is that the Apostle Paul had personal experience with this very problem, as the early Christian church was made up of people from wildly diverse backgrounds. These new Christians brought their conditioned thinking into the faith. Whether it was strict Jewish thinking and practices meant to avoid contact with sin or relaxed and varied gentile thinking, it all needed to be looked at, considered and acted upon in accordance within the principles of true Christianity. Paul did a lot of teaching and reasoning regarding appropriate Christian standards for all. He challenged not only the right and wrong ideas that so many brought with them, he also challenged the attitudes behind those ideas. Paul even went as far as to say that one can be very wrong in attitude and presentation of their right understanding and those whose understanding was wrong could be very right attitude-wise and acceptable before God.
A quick note – all of this is NOT to say that within Christianity we can and should accept anything and everything that comes our way. Nothing could be further from the truth, as Christianity by very definition requires a higher moral and behavioral standard than the world could ever offer.
Check out our November 6, 2017 podcast, “How do I Handle it when I am Wrong?” and follow along with us as we examine how the Apostle Paul guided the early church (and us) to a better understanding of right, wrong and all of the accompanying attitudes. This is a journey that needs to be taken!
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