Being Right & Living it Out
“I’m right!” My initial reaction is often to ask, and that means what? Sometimes being right isn’t all that important. Okay, I’m right there with you, I’d rather be right than wrong but holding to such a mindset isn’t always that useful or relevant when seeing the world through Jesus eyes.
In The Message, the passage about the marriage bed gets rendered like this, “Marriage is not a place to ‘stand up for your rights.’ Marriage is a decision to serve the other.” 1 Corinthians 7:4.
I sometimes wonder though what that looks like. I mean, all well and good but how does that look in the real world. We can say all sorts of things, but living the words can be hard sometimes. I like the wording there – its a decision. Maybe a little training might be useful.
Late last year, I had the good fortune, or maybe it really was the Holy Spirit at work again, to attend a weekend retreat up in northern Wisconsin with my former home church in Chicago. The weekend was great, and the main speaker was pretty powerful. My main takeaway from the time was a comment he made.
Tom was a Michigan state trooper for about 11 years and converted to the faith roughly in the middle of his time there. After his conversion he began to feel a call to step back, or rather step out, and become an itinerant preacher. Now that is a tough call – in essence, no steady job and income. He did what we tell people to do, spend time in prayer, and talk to others about your thinking. Tom did that and approached his wife with the idea.
This is the part that got me. He said, if his wife had shown any hesitation or raised concerns or asked questions about the change – questions concerning how do we live sort of things, he would have stepped down and deferred the decision. What surprised me was that he felt, and had it affirmed by others, that this appeared to be God’s will for him – to move out from his life career and step out in faith. Her response was wholehearted support – in essence, let’s go for it.
There are a few married men I know who would have pressed on with this desire – Godly on its face (I’m not making a judgment call on that right now) – seeking to persuade his wife on why such a move was timely regardless. I’m sure there is much sincerity in going down that road.
I know a few married men who hold to the view that the man is the spiritual leader of the house – yes, I’ve heard the Scriptural warrant for such a view but again not holding to a firm judgment on the validity of that and more importantly what that really means. I know a few women who hold to that (okay maybe less women than men) as well and wouldn’t have thought of raising concerns or hesitating to affirm what the spiritual leader, if you will, desired.
There are a few of us who fancy ourselves pretty good talkers and who could spin out a good tale/rational sounding reason for doing exactly what we wanted to do in the first place – though there that strikes me more and more as simply exercising some worldly skill, being a rhetorician, and not really displaying any faith at all.
So maybe I am thinking what happens if in fact rather than be so concerned about being right, we all stepped back for a moment and considered what our words would look like if we really lived them. Tom didn’t just talk the game, he showed me a way to live it out.
What do you think?
Be blessed and be a blessing.