I’m Always Right and You’re Always Wrong
And why not do evil that good may come? —as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just. Romans 3:8
As an addict in recovery, I’m supposed to daily assess my personal inventory, continually working on my flaws. Drug use wasn’t my only struggle and recovery isn’t only about not using drugs. Recovery is about continued growth and transformation – in all areas of life. To do this, I must first accept that I’m not always right. I still have flaws and I still engage in destructive thoughts and behaviors. If I never admit I’m wrong, I’ll stop growing in my faith and recovery.
The problem is, one of my flaws is that I don’t like to admit my flaws. I always think I’m right – about everything. Anyone who disagrees with me is inherently wrong. I don’t just kindly disagree with others on specific issues though. I tend to regard the one who disagrees with me as wrong about everything.
Faith and politics are prone to this kind of thinking. I’m on God’s side so I’m always right. Everything the other side thinks and does is wrong and evil. In such a condition, we’re incapable of admitting our own flaws or considering that we may be wrong about anything. The problem, of course, is that we’re still human. We’re still flawed, and we’re still capable of failure.
Paul knew this about Christians and even accepted critique of his own faith in today’s passage. In the narrative, Paul addressed the warped line of thinking – that some Christians apparently embraced – which said, if God works his good will even through our evil, then why shouldn’t we just commit more evil? He acknowledged that others condemned Christians for such thinking and said their criticism was just. Paul understood that not everything believed by Christians was correct and he didn’t try and defend every crazy idea put forth by all Christians.
In faith – and in politics – we should learn from Paul. Like Paul, we should entertain criticism from those who don’t agree with us. If we’re honest, we’ll see that we still have flaws and aren’t infallible. When we only surround ourselves with those who agree with us, we sit in an echo chamber, only hearing what we want to hear. If we want to keep growing – which is supposed to be the daily Christian life (Luke 9:23) – then we must consider the possibility that we’re not always right about everything.