When I’m Wrong
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Romans 15:1
A few times lately, I’ve found myself being critical of others. It’s not bad enough that I’ve had critical thoughts though. I’ve also shared those thoughts out loud. Twice recently, those whom I’ve complained to have called me out – If this is how you talk about others, then how do you talk about me when I’m not around? Indulging in my own critical nature, I expected my friends to understand and join in. Instead, they taught me a lesson. What I did was terribly unkind. The fact that you might be wondering if it was you whom I was talking about is awful. My pride and condescension are wrong and self-destructive. As much as I don’t enjoy correction, I needed to be corrected.
In today’s passage, Paul said that the strong must bear with and assist those who are weak. The implication is that there are those who are more mature and those who are less mature. I often write about how those who are strong in their recovery must help those who are struggling, but the reciprocal is true as well. Those who are weaker must recognize it and look to those who are more mature for wisdom.
The problem is that I don’t like to admit that I’m the one who needs correction, wisdom, or help. I’ve been in recovery for nearly seven years. I wrote a book. I’ve got it all figured out. Unless I’m the wisest, most mature person on Earth however – I’m clearly not – then there will always be those around me who can teach me something.
It takes a lot of humility to learn from others though, and pride is the exact flaw I’ve been struggling with in being critical. Part of the problem is that correction doesn’t always come from where we might accept it. If a police officer tells me to stop speeding or my pastor tells me to humble myself, I’d submit to their authority. Often though, it’s those around us – friends, family, and coworkers – who are simply better at some things than we are. As Paul taught, we must help others and we must allow others to help us. God uses us to grow each other, so we must remain humble enough to accept that sometimes it’s us who requires correction.