But I’m Right!
One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. Exodus 2:11
I can’t help but try to pass on my own painful life lessons to my children. So, the other day, I found myself telling my son how I’ve had to repeatedly learn this lesson – I can be right and still act wrong. For instance, if someone I know is struggling with chemicals, it may be right for me to address it. I can however, go wrong in my response, angrily berating the individual. Or I can respond rightly, addressing the issue with love and truth.
As I was telling my son about this lesson I’ve learned, I had to admit to him that I’m still learning it. In frustration recently, I said something that I later wished I could have taken back. But I wasn’t wrong. I was in the right! It is believing I’m right that grants me the liberty to act so badly sometimes. When I’m angry and offended by evil or stupidity, I respond impulsively. But I’m in the right! I’m right, however, is the battle cry of someone who’s about to do or say something very wrong.
Moses discovered this truth in today’s passage. The story tells us that though Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s household, he was still a Hebrew who observed how the Egyptians mistreated his people. One day, he witnessed an Egyptian beating an Israelite and in impulsive rage, he killed the Egyptian. Moses was right to want to defend his people and he believed they would appreciate him for it. Even though Moses was in the right about the situation, his was terribly wrong in his response. He discovered this the next day when he saw two Israelites who were fighting – And he said to the man in the wrong, “Why do you strike your companion?” He answered, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian (Exodus 2:13-14)?” Moses suddenly realized that his people were not going to keep his murderous secret. Word was out and he had to flee.
But I’m in the right! Often, particularly when it comes to our faith, we believe we’re right and that God is on our side. This unfortunately, grants us the confidence to do and say terrible things. Our position may be justified, but our impulsive response is evil. We can be right and still act wrong. As in all things, if we want to follow Christ, we must look to his example, always communicating both truth and love. This isn’t easy though. It requires patience and wisdom and, as I told my son, it’s a life lesson that I’m still learning – I can be right and still act wrong.