It seems like an endless cycle in our partisan world. One side makes a point and the other side makes a counterpoint, both claiming to be absolutely right. Of course, this is quite an old narrative when it comes to political advertising. Our candidate is the best; the opposing candidate the worst. Our candidate will save the nation; the opposing candidate will destroy it. We have a man running for state office who is a really nice guy and who does a lot for the community. We have been receiving mailings depicting him as a terrible human being whose re-election will lead to the destruction of our way of life. This tactic is often referred to as the “politics of destruction.” Sadly, it seems to work.
I recall meeting with a student years ago who had agreed to be part of our leadership team, but then the weekend before classes began, she texted me to say she would not be serving as a leader. I met with her later in the week to discuss her decision. When I questioned the timing of her decision, she defended it. When I pointed out that she had treated the staff and the other student leaders unfairly, she countered that she had received an offer over the summer to assist leading another ministry. She never conceded that she did anything wrong, and left very angry with me. All I was wanting was for her to acknowledge she handled the situation badly. She couldn’t do it.
We live in a point/counterpoint culture where few are willing to admit their perspectives may be wrong. If a point is made challenging our view, most often we will make a counterpoint in defense. This is especially true on social media when someone makes a post with whom many disagree. Sometimes, there are dozens of comments going back and forth, supporting the point or countering it.
What’s missing in all of this is an acknowledgement that none of us has the corner on truth. When was the last time you heard someone concede a fervently held point that just happens to be wrong? When was the last time you heard someone counter with agreement, or at least understanding, instead of defending their personal position? It seems we as a culture have the overwhelming need to be right, to the point we will defend it at almost any cost. And, sadly, this includes many Christians.
Our pastor said once that being right is not a spiritual gift, but kindness is. The challenge for us as believers is not to cast aside our opinions, but to learn to be kind while holding them and humble enough to acknowledge that we might be wrong, or are wrong when the evidence lines up against us. I think about Job and his friends who all were convinced they were right in their viewpoints. Job was correct, but he was a bit arrogant in trying to tell God what to do. Toward the end of the book, God sets them all straight. Do we really believe we have all the correct answers? Do we arrogantly run over people with our opinions? If so, we seriously need to rethink this, because a time is coming for us all when we will be face to face with the One who is Truth.
What our culture desperately needs are people who are humble enough to know they don’t have all the answers and are not always right, people who are secure enough to concede when they are wrong rather than going on the defense, and people who are kind regardless of how others act or respond. This, I believe, is what it means to have the Kingdom of God among us. And there is this warning from Jesus:
Jesus said to them,“Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from youand given to a people who will produce its fruit.Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.” (Matthew 23:42-44)
Let us be the ones who humble ourselves and fall on the Stone rather than, in the end, being crushed by it.
© Jim Musser 2020 All Scripture references are from the New International Version, 2011.