Your behavior is a direct result of those thoughts you have about yourself and others. Without healing, negative feelings and judgmental words will cause you to hurt others and will isolate you from Me.
~In the Presence of Jesus by Paul Bane and Matt Litton
Letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.
One of the most common and destructive forces in our lives is our inherent need to be right about any subject. You see, always wanting to “be right” leads to broken relationships because it ruins any opportunity for fellowship or compromise. When all we care about is that our perspective be ordained as the “correct one,” – it ends all discussion and any further insight into solving our problems.
Check your Bibles, folks, because Jesus never commanded us to be right; He commanded us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
As Christ followers, we tend to quarrel over modes of baptism, church membership, and various perspectives of doctrine or politics. Instead of loving one another, we denigrate others who do not believe like we do. We analyze and categorize everything about our understanding of God so that it can fit into our own worldview. We dissect and throw out every piece of theology that does not fit into our beliefs. (I am A Pharisee)
But we don’t often take time to ask ourselves whether we are defending God or our own little ideas about Him when we engage in these battles.
Remember that it is in our nature to identify the character flaws of everyone but not be able to see the “plank in our own eye”! Jesus calls us away from all-or-nothing thinking and toward love. Believing we are right in our beliefs or worldviews is just a way to convince ourselves that we are in control of this out-of-control world. Being right is a substitute for trusting Jesus! Is it better to be right than to be at peace and love those around you? (The Correct Belief)
This week ask God to help you see others as He sees them. Take the time to look into the hearts of others and contemplate why they believe the way they do. There is a saying from my (Paul’s) native American friends in Oklahoma, “Never criticize a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins.” One of Matt’s favorite characters Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird challenges us to “walk around in someone else’s skin.” The answer is not to become entangled in the rightness or wrongness of what other people think. Staying in a relationship with those who disagree with us and learning to love and serve them anyway is the great challenge of living the Jesus way. Pick a person you struggle with in life. Walk a mile in their shoes. See if you can be understanding about their perspectives.
Let’s release the need to be right and let the love and peace of Christ fill its place.
Co-author Matt Litton