Giving up my need to be right

Mar 26, 2015 by

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Lent is a time to let go of things that hold us back, a time to return to God with our whole heart. As we approach Holy Week this year, I’ve sensed God inviting me to let go of my need to be right, leading me to ponder, “Why is it so important to be right?”

If the need to be right is to prove ourselves and build up our egos, Jesus has shown we have nothing to prove and losing is often winning. We all mess up and get it wrong. We are all in need of grace and forgiveness. Our identity in Christ is sufficient and far exceeds our need to be right.

If the need to be right is to hold fast to personal convictions, isn’t there a way to hold to our convictions without needing to be the most right and prove the other wrong? A brother recently told me, “I cannot agree to be part of a church where truth and convictions are discarded and anything goes.” My friend deserves respect and full permission to hold fast to his convictions, yet why should one need to let go of their convictions or their church simply because someone else holds a different conviction? Is not the truth of Christ strong enough to stand on its own?

The main thing is not to be right, defend oneself, or separate from those who disagree. The main thing is not a thing at all, but a person — Jesus. And we are his body, the church. If one person, church, or conference had all the truth, one would have every right to separate. However, the truth is bigger than a person, church, conference or even denomination. We often find it easier to seek peace and reconciliation with brothers and sisters in other denominations than our own. Should we not give our own brothers and sisters the same respect and permission to hold fast to convictions?

The current challenge in the church goes far beyond the subject of homosexuality. It is about a spirit of insisting I am right and separating from those who disagree. On whichever side we find ourselves, if we were to fully respect one another’s convictions and lay down our need to be the most right, might we be able to find our way through the present conflicts and be an answer to Jesus’ prayer for unity and oneness?

If the need to be right is to keep the church pure and holy, there is no better time than Lent to pursue a pure and holy heart, to be set apart, in right relationship with God and one another, clean on the inside and the outside.

Holiness begins first within my own heart as I fall to my knees and pray: “Create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me.”

Lord, I confess I’ve been hypocritical and judgmental. Forgive me for my blind spots, my attitude of superiority, my inclination to see the sins of others and overlook my own. Forgive me for the times I am unloving and controlling, the times I am more concerned about being understood than understanding, forgiven than forgiving. Forgive me for the times I overlook the gifts and potential of your precious children because I cannot see past our disagreements. Forgive me for the hurt and pain I cause your body. As we approach Holy Week, may I lay down my need to be right and to win, lest I become indifferent and withdraw into my own little corner of the truth. And when I fail, which I’m sure I will, grant me the humility to admit it, and forgive and restore me to your church, the church we all love.

With you as our main thing Jesus, we have nothing to prove. As we yield ourselves to a greater wisdom than our own, we trust the ultimate outcome to you. And when the resurrection of Easter arrives, we will experience a miraculous rising up together that unites and builds up your body, so that the world might know you and the power of your love.

Ron Zook and his wife, Judy, ended an assignment as pastors at New Holland (Pa.) Mennonite Church at the end of 2013 and are in a time of transition. He blogs at revisioncrossings.wordpress.com, where this first appeared.


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