Jumping to Conclusions
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"You just had to say that, didn't you?" my friend asked softly. Sometimes it's the softest words that are the most difficult to hear.
"What?" I defended myself. "She was wrong!"
"What difference did it make?"
I've had years to think about that question. Years ago, knowing I was right demanded I prove it. Not so much anymore.
One other thing I can't forget about that interchange was the woman's response.
She smiled. It was a genuine smile, too, not one that she pasted on. Grace smiles instead of having to be right. In similar situations, I don't think people have tasted grace from me. But now, being a little more seasoned, I actually start sentences with, "I could be wrong …"
I eat less crow now. It's better for my digestion. And I really care less about being right. Lots less. I've learned a lot from Proverbs: "Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions" (18:2).
I now think about the other person—something I didn't even notice before.
Is Change Possible?
There's only one reason I changed, and continue to change. God lovingly showed me I was wrapped up in me.
So what can we do to care less about being right and care more about others? To stop jumping to conclusions that may be—and often are—wrong?
God is in the business of transforming us to the image of his Son, Jesus. Skillfully, he uses situations, and sometimes even other people, to sand off our rough edges. He allows things in our lives that become painful reminders that we aren't always right, that we don't always have it figured out, that we are human, and that we often need to keep silent about everything we think we know or should share.
As we spend more time letting God do his transforming work, the easier it is to admit when we've made a mistake. And then we see God working in others as they extend grace too.
Being right is a form of control, an indication of pride. God hates pride. Always did, always will. Hated it so much he sent his Son to die for our pride. Jesus wasn't proud. Instead he wore humility every day he was on earth. He wore it all the way to Calvary. He was right, but he kept his mouth shut. The more I let God work, the more I'll look like Jesus.
The more time we spend letting God do his transforming work, the easier it becomes to admit when we've made a mistake. And then we also get to see God work in others as they extend grace to us.
Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker, and author of more than 42 published Bible studies. www.annepeterson.com.