All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. (Ps. 22:7)
Years ago, a counselor told me, “So much of your satisfaction in life will depend upon how you define success, and the quality of your love with the people around you.”
One of the ways we erode our quality of love is by pushing our own agenda so firmly that we alienate others. Sometimes we even make a virtue of this, saying things like, “They don’t disagree with me; they disagree with God.”
Apart from the incredible arrogance of that statement (assuming you have a monopoly on understanding God’s opinion), these broad statements also reveal the state of our character. It’s possible to hold so tightly to our need to be right (and to have a defeated opponent acknowledge it) that we let go of our need to be loving in our heart’s posture toward others.
What might happen if we became less concerned with winning arguments and more concerned with becoming the kind of person who is right in our relationships?
These verses depict the psalmist facing taunts, jeers, and mockery; he had every reason to be defensive and argumentative. Neighbors’ violent words and actions hurt him, and yet God’s presence freed him from the need to respond in anger or self-righteousness. God’s love for us can free us to love others well, even when we differ in opinions.
Apologize to someone who has suffered from your need to be “right.”
Ethan Linder is an editor and the pastor of Hospitality, Collegians, and Young Adults at College Wesleyan Church in Indiana, where he lives with his wife, Sarah, and their three sons.
© 2021 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.