When we’re having an argument or a disagreement with someone, it’s important to ask the question “what if I’m wrong?”. But what happens when we come to the conclusion that we’re not wrong, but we are indeed right?
While I have discovered the importance of asking the question “what if I’m wrong?” when I disagree with someone else, I am discovering that it is equally important to ANSWER the question “what if I’m right?”.
There have been times when I have disagreed with someone and I am convinced that my perspective is the right one. I have asked myself “what if I’m wrong?”. I have prayed about the situation. I have agonized over it and sought the Lord. I have pored over scripture. I have asked for the wise counsel of godly men and women. After all this, when I know that my perspective lines up with the truth of God’s Word, I need to respond to the question “what if I’m right?”
When you know that you are right, but the disagreement persists, what do you do? What I have learned/am learning is that my response must be grace-filled. It must align with what I know to be true about how God deals with me. My response must be kind, loving, compassionate, and patient.
I cannot insist that the other person agree with me. I definitely must not slander them or demean and belittle them when they refuse to agree with me. If I do these things, I may be right in my opinion, but I am certainly wrong in my treatment of the other person. Scripture is VERY clear on this. We are to treat others the way that Jesus would treat them. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
I have not always done this perfectly in my life. My sinful tendency is to fight back when I feel that someone is in the wrong. In the past, I have been convinced that if we can just talk about the issue more, surely I will be able to make the other person see things from my perspective. But this is the sin of pride, believing that if I’m right, then I get to manipulate the other person into agreeing with me. I’m slowly learning how ugly this approach is.
I am grateful for the Lord’s patience with me!
Humility has taught me to ask the question “what if I’m wrong? Wisdom teaches me to answer the question “what if I’m right?”. Even if I’m right, I need to trust the Lord to work in the other person’s heart in HIS timing. I must wait on Him to reveal truth to the other person. And in the meantime, I need to love them well. Wisdom reminds me that we are all on a journey and I can trust God to work in the other person’s life. Humility gently reminds me that I might not be the one who is supposed to teach them the lesson they need to learn.
I am incredibly grateful for the friends, mentors and counselors in my life who have lovingly walked beside me, who have gently pointed me to truth when I am in the wrong, and who have shown grace along the way.
I pray that I would be quick to admit when I am wrong and that I would be gracious and kind when I am right.
Humility and wisdom.
My husband and I got into an argument the other day. It was over schedules and expectations and assumptions. We have entered a new phase in our parenting, one where we are juggling many opposing schedules. While my husband’s schedule has stayed generally the same, I am finding myself in a stressful place, trying to get everyone to where they need to be and desiring not to let anybody down.
And there’s the crux of the problem. I don’t want to let anyone down. I’m discovering that my greatest fear is disappointing others and when I sense that I am letting someone down then I spiral and feel like I am a failure and a disappointment to everyone.
The fear was overwhelming me and so I fought back against my husband and I made assumptions about his schedule that were completely unfair. I seethed and he soothed. I had disrespected him, but he patiently explained why he might not be able to be available at the time I needed him.
As he spoke, my heart began to soften and I realized that I was wrong. My assumptions were incorrect and I had disrespected him by believing that his reasons were selfish and unloving. How blind I was!
Later as I reflected on our argument, I was in tears as I basked in the grace my husband had shown to me. I didn’t deserve it. I had been manipulative and unkind, yet he continued to reach out in love towards me. I cried because I had been given a beautiful picture of God’s steadfast love for me in the way my husband gently dealt with me. I cried because of the way love covers a multitude of sins. I cried because my greatest fear had been realized- I WAS letting others down- yet I had come out the other side, safe, secure and loved. I cried because I was amazed at the abundant grace that had been lavished on me.
In the middle of our argument, I stood at my kitchen sink, angry and frustrated while my family poured milk into cereal, set the table, and poured the coffee behind me. And I prayed. It didn’t take long for me to ask the question, what if I’m wrong? My husband hadn’t explained himself at that point, but I knew that I needed to allow my heart to be softened. I love my husband. I wanted our relationship to be restored.
What I have discovered is this- when we love others, we will be quick to admit and acknowledge our own fault. Not a single one of us is without fault. We are not God. We do not know the motives of others. We cannot judge perfectly. Ever. But when we are able to admit that we might be wrong, it allows us to listen to the other person. Listening provides the opportunity to understand where the other person is coming from. Understanding leads to trust. When you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the other person loves you and you love them in return, then reconciliation is possible.
But all of these things are necessary. Admitting our own wrong. Listening to the other person. Seeking to understand. Trust based on a mutual love for one another. Reconciliation.
Are you quick to admit when you are wrong or do you stubbornly hold onto your opinion? When you discover that you are wrong about something, do you apologize and seek to make amends? Do you blame others when they don’t live up to your expectations or do you seek to understand their perspective?
Be quick to admit when you are wrong. Listen well to others. Seek to understand. Genuinely love. And then allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the beauty of reconciliation!
Be quick to ask yourself, what if I’m wrong? And frequently pray Psalm 139:23, 24…
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
When I told your Dad that I wouldn’t speak at your graduation and instead wait to write my words to you, I did so with the expectation that the words would come easily. After all, there are eighteen years of memories. There are countless hopes and dreams I have for you. There are so many things that I want to say.
Yet I find myself at a loss for words this morning. I have written and deleted numerous times already.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been telling you what I want you to know all along the way. I told you through all of the baby snuggles, the walks to the playground, the books I read to you. I’ve expressed it in all of the birthday parties I have thrown for you. I’ve reminded you through the tears shed at every single concert, performance, and accomplishment of yours. It’s in the way Dad and I have advocated for you and defended you when you were being treated unfairly. It’s in the way we’ve rebuked and challenged you when you were clearly in the wrong. I’ve told you on road trips and on flights to foreign countries. I’ve shown you through adventures and traditions. It’s been in the laughter at the dining room table (what a hullabaloo that is!). It’s been in the sorrow over losses along the way.
It’s this and it’s really quite simple.
I love you, Lindsay Elise!
Watching you become the woman you are today has been an incredible journey. From the very beginning, you had strong opinions and you would push back against me. A good friend reminded me that God would use that strong will for his glory someday. She was right! I see that strength in you growing into something beautiful as you submit to the Lord.
You have met adversity in your life with the determination to change and to grow.
You have made mistakes, but you keep trying to learn from them.
You have pursued passions and I can’t wait to see how God uses your creativity, your writing, your singing, your loyalty, your love for kids, your leadership, and your love for Him!
Your future is bright, Lindsay. Not because it will be easy or because you will succeed at everything you pursue. You already know that life is painful and hard at times and you have failed enough times to know that success is not a guarantee.
Your future is bright because you have learned to look in the right direction. You are choosing to fix your eyes on Christ and to know him more.
“You will shine among them like stars in the sky, as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Philippians 2:15,16
As Dad said, we are so proud of you, Lindsay, and we love you. But more importantly, your heavenly Father loves you with his always and forever love. And so, your future is bright, because these things will never change.
This next chapter is still unwritten, but I can’t wait to see what God writes into your story. I know it will be epic!
Mother’s day always feels like a bit of a letdown to me. Anyone else?
I have learned over the years to let go of expectations. I have some pretty fabulous kids and a wonderful husband, but they’re not perfect. And they don’t always know what I want in any given moment. How could they? I don’t always know what I want either!
But this Mother’s day, I found an idea on Pinterest to give the same questions to all of your kids and see what answers they come up with. I looked at the questions and thought it might be fun now that all of my kids can read! Turns out that one of the things they received from me was a competitive nature! They all got right to work to figure out the best answers.
I meant to answer the questions myself first, but forgot to do that. They started returning their sheets and I realized that they all had different answers for pizza toppings and favorite movies, but they were all right! Yes, I do like sausage and mushrooms, but I also love Margherita pizza. I equally love “The Princess Bride”, “Leap Year” and “Pride and Prejudice”.
As I read their answers, I found myself feeling so loved and so known. It was a gift that I hadn’t expected. When the final scores were tallied, they all had the same score even though they all got different questions wrong!
Sometimes motherhood can feel so lonely. I’m not sure that they appreciate all of the things I do that from my perspective go unnoticed. The number of times I pick up blankets or hang up coats or sweep the floor. The amount of time devoted to planning meals, grocery shopping and preparing food. The prayers prayed on their behalf, the tears I shed, the heartache I feel, but also the immense joy and pride in each one of them. I wonder sometimes if they know how much I do, but more importantly how much they are loved.
These little sheets were a reminder that they do see and they know way more than I have been giving them credit for.
They all wrote the same answer for least favorite chore- laundry. They all got that one wrong. So of course they asked me what my least favorite chore is. I told them that it was cleaning bathrooms. I could see a lightbulb moment happening before me and one of them asked, ‘Is that why you make us clean the bathrooms?!!” Yes, that is exactly why!
If you are feeling unnoticed in your life right now, I pray that my words would encourage you. Others do notice and they are paying attention to what we do. Sometimes that should challenge us! I can’t tell you the number of times I have had to apologize to my kids for a bad attitude or an unkind word. But it should also encourage us. When we are committed to loving others well, they know it. They can feel it and the beautiful thing is that our love for them teaches them to reciprocate.
This Mother’s day was the best I have ever had. My oldest was able to run to the store and pick up lunch for everyone. The rest cleaned the house for me, leaving the kitchen spotless! All of my kids wrote me notes. I received a special bracelet and the book I asked for.
But the best gift of all is that feeling of being known. And loved anyway.