When controversy arises in our lives we are faced with a decision that will define our character and illuminate the principles we live by. That decision is, “would we rather be right or in relationship?”
Now I have to be honest, this powerful statement was not a revelation on my part but from the book What Matters Most by Leonard Sweet. He was mentioning a story and this powerful statement stuck out to me like a sore thumb.
This lesson is applicable to our life, our marriage, and our walk with the Lord. Jesus always sought relationship over being right, but the truth of the matter is, in choosing relationship for Him he was right.
He even tells us himself in John 3:17,
For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.
God would have been right to condemn us, but He chose relationship because that is what He has sought after since before the foundations of the world. In choosing relationship it draws us to repentance and to seek after Him. In that repentance, He rightness is achieved.
It is His kindness that leads us to repentance. – Romans
In our own lives we are faced with the same conundrum. Will we choose to be right or in relationship?
- When your neighbor’s basketball goal scratches your new car.
- When your spouse forgets your birthday or anniversary.
- When a coworker offends you.
Choosing to be right will momentarily make us feel better, because let’s face it, being right feels good. But that momentary high of being right may cost us the relationship. By choosing the relationship, you purposefully put on the mind of Christ and embody His heart’s cry. God is more concerned with having relationship with us than being right.
How we answer this question, “to be right or to be in relationship,” defines our character and illuminates to those around us the principles we live by. Pride chooses to be right, while humility chooses relationship. The answer will define our character. If we are always seeking to be right whether with a coworker, a spouse, or a neighbor our pride and flesh has elevated itself above the Spirit.
If we are choosing relationships over rightness, we illuminate the principles we live by. I believe we have lost the understanding of living by principle, and doing so even if it costs us. Sometimes choosing relationship over being right will cost us, time, money, maybe even a little pain. Pain will heal and money can be remade, but relationships are what this life is for.
You see, in the book Sweet discusses how that exact situation occurred. A friend told him how a neighbor’s basketball goal fell over and scratched his new car. Instead of filing a claim or lawsuit, he chose the relationship. The neighbor was going to be around a lot longer than that new vehicle, and the vehicle just got “christened” a little sooner than he would have liked.
By choosing relationship over being right it is a win win for everyone involved, just like with the Lord. If only we would choose relationship more often than being right. If only we could lay aside our pride, and salvage relationships over the elation of knowing we were right. I am guilty of this myself. Let us all be challenged to choose relationships rather than being right.