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When I’m Right in Being Wrong

When I’m Right in Being Wrong

Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. Matthew 1:19

I lost my wallet again recently. I was 90% sure I’d left it on my desk at work, but when I went to retrieve it, it was gone. I had a short list of people who have access to my office and I must confess that I had some pretty dark thoughts about the supposed thief. Before I could act on my anger though, I got a call from the grocery store, letting me know I’d left my wallet there the day before.

Rarely do I feel so confident in acting badly as when I have been offended. When I am in the wrong, I can usually embrace enough humility to keep my mouth shut. When I’ve been offended though, I feel justified in lashing out. I’m right, you’re wrong, and I’m going to let everyone know it!

This is unfortunately, the easiest for us to do with those whom we love the most. When we feel we’ve been offended by family or a spouse, we feel completely justified in responding with hurtful words or actions. I’ve been hurt and now I’m going to hurt back!

 In today’s passage, Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, found himself to be (apparently) offended by his fiancé. Mary was pregnant . . . and Joseph didn’t do it. If anyone was justified in being angry, it was Joseph, who realized that Mary had been unfaithful.

Today’s passage says though, that Joseph refused vengeance. Though it must have been tremendously humiliating, he swallowed his pride, and planned to do the kind, honorable thing, ending the engagement quietly, so Mary could go her way without further embarrassment.

It’s natural – but not right – for us to retaliate in our offense. Hurt people hurt people. In being right, we often act terribly. As so often is the case, our pride leads us astray, causing us to lash out, often at those whom we love the most. We are never right though, in acting wrong.

Acting right, often means, that like Joseph, we must embrace humility, surrendering our often-misguided need for retaliation. If we desire to repair the conflict, we usually need to surrender the need to be right. If we desire to live rightly, when we are hurt, we must, like Joseph, choose kindness instead of vengeance.

 

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