I grew up in a legalistic Christianity in which the highest value was being right. To know the right things, say the right things, do the right things and believe the right things were what was most important. This is what punishment and praise were based on in my childhood.
I quickly became a rule follower. I wanted praise and got it when I adhered to the rules. To want to do the right thing and follow rules is not a bad thing in an of itself, but when it is not balanced it becomes ugly. What it created in me was a judgement, prideful perfectionist, who always needed to be right. What I have found is that rightness needs to be balanced by love.
Photo by Amelie & Niklas Ohlrogge on Unsplash
I don’t remember where I first heard this, but I remember it because it was so impactful: “You can be right and you can love, but sometimes you can’t do both. So, what will you choose?” Right away this made sense. I know that tension inside of me. I want to get my point across. I want to argue. I want to tell you the “right” answer. But when I am focused on my “right” answers, I am not focused on you. I am unaware of that your needs, desires, struggles, and what you might offer or teach me. I am not open and not curious. This is not loving. This is not kind. This is not who I really am.
It is a good thing to share your opinions and have discussions and even have arguments. The point here is to always balance it out with love. Be aware and kind to the other person no matter what. As 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 describes, if we have wisdom without love we are just annoying and have nothing.