Friday, August 5, 2011

We don't have to be "right"...

"We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor."
(Romans 15:1-2)

A few years ago I heard comedian Jeff Allen say that the best piece of advice his father ever gave him about married life was given on the day of his wedding.  His dad said, "Son, when it comes to your wife, you can either be RIGHT or you can be HAPPY.  You can't be both!"  Jokingly, Jeff said, "I've been happy ever since!"

Actually, it's not that far off.  Too often we choose to make sure that others (especially the ones we love most) know that we're "right."  We also do it as Christians.  Too much, I fear.  But in Romans 15, Paul calls us to put up with those around us.  We don't have to insist on our own ways - even when we know we're right!  Why?  Because, says Paul, the ultimate goal is not "being right," but building up one another in love.

What would it mean for us to put first & foremost the building up of our spouse in love?  Or our children?  Or our co-workers, classmates, neighbors?  Or those who irritate & disagree with us all the time?  Everyone?  Maybe God can use those tiny expressions of "loving grace" on our part to reach people in ways that our "being right" wouldn't.

Go figure.

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