My Need to Be Right
Jude 1:21,22 …Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt.
Some of the worst words ever to escape my lips have been wrought out of the conviction that I was right in the eyes of God. My most arrogant moments have been a product of my belief in my divine rightness. If I know that I am right because God said so, then I feel that I have a God-given freedom to say whatever I want. I feel the truth gives me license to act like a tyrant.
Jude however, says that as I am continually dependent of God’s love and mercy, I am to continually love and show mercy to those who do not believe. I convey God’s love by acting in a loving manner, not by acting like a jerk. I know this to be true from experience. I have yet to convey the love of Christ by fighting with someone. That knowledge has not stopped me from trying though.
When I believe a thing so strongly, I find myself offended if someone does not agree with me. In my offense, I lash out in frustration, anger, and arrogance. How can you not see it my way? In my passion, I am blind to the fact that as soon as I start behaving badly, I am no longer on God’s side. I can know what is right and still behave terribly. I, who should be the humblest person in the world, can still summon enough pride to be hateful to those I see as wrong.
How did Jesus do it? I may not be able to perform the miracles He did, but I can emulate him nonetheless. Like Jesus, I can love others, meet their needs, tell them the truth and then leave the choice up to them. I do not remember Jesus debating anyone except those who thought they were the righteous ones. When he met those in need of him, he was gentle, loving, kind and then let them go their own way if they did not want to follow.
When I become angry, irritated and arrogant, I need to see that I am no longer focused on God, I am focused on self. It is my own need to be right that is offended when someone disagrees with me. Jude tells me it is not my job to be offended by those I disagree with. It is mine to share the truth in love and it is mine to show mercy. I am to leave the rest up to God. When my focus is on me, I use God as an excuse to act badly. It is only in keeping my eyes on God that I truly love and show mercy.