Admitting it When I’m Wrong
And Paul said, “I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’” Acts 23:5
Despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, the addict still thinks he knows the right way. Frequently, in treatment centers, I’ll explain a principle of recovery and get pushback from those who disagree. I’ve been there. I argued with my counselors even though they’d been in recovery for years and I’d not. Even though my life was a disaster, it was really hard to admit the possibility that I might be wrong.
I continue to struggle with this, even now in recovery. In fact, the success of my recovery might make it even more difficult to admit when I’m wrong. Not long ago, as I was leaving the clinic, a nurse asked me an obscure medical question and I was proud that I knew the answer. As I was driving away though, a nagging thought crept in – I might be wrong. A few minutes later, at home, I had to look it up and discovered I was indeed incorrect. Calling back to correct my mistake was the right thing to do, but I didn’t want to do it. I made the call, but only after significant internal conflict. It’s still really difficult to admit when I’m wrong.
The apostle Paul strikes me as the kind of person who would have difficulty admitting he was wrong, but in today’s passage, he did just that. While being questioned by the Jewish Council, Paul gave an answer that perturbed the high priest, who commanded that Paul be struck. Paul lashed out with harsh words without knowing this was the high priest. When informed of who he’d insulted, Paul sincerely and immediately apologized for his angry, rash rebuke. Paul didn’t allow his pride to prevent him from admitting when he was wrong.
It is pride of course, that prevents us from admitting our mistakes. Often, we’d rather continue down the wrong road rather than admit we’re wrong. In AA, this is called a dry drunk – someone who may be sober but is still blind to the rest of his flaws. In refusing to admit we’re wrong, we compound our problems, piling mistake upon mistake. Because we’re still flawed, walking the narrow path of faith, life, and recovery requires constant course correction though. To stay on the right path we must continually be willing to admit when we’re wrong.
I heard someone say once “are you truly ‘being transformed by the renewing of your mind’ or are you just getting better at sin management?”
Ouch, that’s a painful thought. Thanks Joe!