The Importance of Being Right

Watching the blowup and fallout over a guest post on one of my favorite blogs recently, something finally clicked in my mind.   It’s an idea a good friend of mine has been stressing for years.     It’s something that I sniffed at while listening to someone try desperately to prove his theological position last week.   It’s something I struggle with daily in my relationship to my oldest son.   It’s how badly we want to be RIGHT.

The blog post in question was on the sensitive subject of religion, specifically how the writer had schooled her kids about it.   After briefly expressing her feelings about the church she was raised in, commenters trounced her right and left for her opinions, and did their best to demean her, ridicule her, and prove her Wrong and Unenlightened and Mean.   Their actions showed how desperately they wanted to be Right, stooping to behavior directly condemned by the religion they were attempting to defend.

We all want to be right. It’s comfortable to have that moral stake on our side of the line, isn’t it?  We can stand unshakable in our position, sure that anyone who doesn’t agree is somehow wrong.  Right and wrong have their importance, and I don’t pretend to throw them (or morality) under the bus.   Wrong choices can have devastating consequences, and cause tremendous pain.   I justify my right/wrong arguments with my son by telling myself it’s for his own good, when in fact it’s my need to prove my rightness.

I just don’t think right and wrong are the primary filters we want to use when it comes to our daily life. Our focus should be on making the most excellent choices we can, and pursuing Truth, not Rightness, as our goal.  Looking for truth, seeking it out, and recognizing the thunk as a nugget finds its resting place in our hearts.   Truth sings, Rightness pounds.   Truth lights its surroundings, Rightness draws a border.   I’d far rather be caught speaking the truth, in love, than pounding Right stakes into the ground to keep my position clear.