Gloating About Being Right
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Titus 2:7
It’s not uncommon at our house to have little arguments over trivial facts. Someone will believe one thing to be true and another will believe the opposite, so, the two parties will make some silly bet and then turn to the internet for a definitive answer. There’s rarely much riding on it – someone will have to vacuum the floors or clean a bathroom when they lose. Rather, it’s usually more about the bragging rights. I can’t remember, who won the bet? Oh right, that was me! Once the internet has been consulted and a winner has been declared, the gloating begins. The winner has earned the right to be a little obnoxious for a while.
It’s amusing when we’re arguing as a family over what year the last Star Wars movie was released. It’s much less amusing when we carry this same attitude into the rest of our lives. As Christians, we’re particularly prone to this flaw in behavior when it comes to how we handle the truth. We believe in God, whom we see as the ultimate authority in the universe, and so we believe that his truth is the definitive truth. So far so good. The problem often, is that in our rightness, we assume a profound arrogance. In our arrogance, we act like self-righteous fools. We gloat. We condescend. We criticize and we gossip. We can believe the right things and still act wrong. We’re not perfect and we still have struggles, but because we believe Biblical doctrine, we feel free to act hateful towards those who disagree.
In today’s passage though, Paul instructed us how to live in a world that disagrees with our faith. He said that we must embrace goodness, dignity, and integrity in everything, so that others may not find fault with how we handle the truth. When we claim to believe in God but then embrace hate, dishonesty, anger, prejudice, or arrogance, we give others cause to speak evil about us and our faith. We can believe right and still act wrong. In our evil behavior, we become wrong.
God never asks us to sin for him. When we find ourselves being hateful, prideful, and angry, that’s us, not God. Daily, we must look inward, asking ourselves if we’re being kind, loving, and living with integrity. If we claim God’s truth, others will judge us by how we handle that truth. We can be right and still act wrong.