I have this uncanny desire to prove myself right. There is something about being right that gives me some sort of fulfillment and peace to what I am doing or saying. For instance, I have been back and forth about my school options for the past two years, ever since I transferred over to York. One day I want my honours BA and the next I just want my three year. Another day I want to go to teachers college and the next I want to go take courses for graphic design. I can never seem to make up my mind. The problem is though, I’ve already told some people where I want to go. I told my parents about teachers college and I know that’s what would make them the happiest, and I’ve told others about my honours BA and I know that’s what they think would be the smartest. So now, as questions start racing in my head, and as my desires and circumstances start to change I find myself being attached to these options that I chose long ago simply because I already told them I was going to do it. I need to do the right thing and the right thing (I think) to them is to do those things. So then I find myself doing things with no heart, no desire at all because I’m trying to show people I can do it. My schooling now becomes about proving myself to other people instead of going to school.
Or another example, last night I went and visited a friend. My friend is extremely smart and I have always learned so much from him. So we are talking and we get in a big discussion on the authority of the early church and the creeds. The discussion happens, he’s so much smarter than me that he ends up just walking circles around me and showing my logic to make no sense. We end up leaving, and all I can think about for the two hour ride home is how I can prove my points. I thought to myself, well I can just send him a big e-mail of all my thoughts and my proof. I couldn’t just leave the conversation there anymore, I was going to be persistent until I could be right. I need to be right.
It is this desire to be right which fuels all sorts of separations in the church. It is this desire to be right that feeds the break-ups of all sorts of relationships. I wonder if it’s possible to get away from the need to be right. I know we all feel it all the time. We wouldn’t have blogs, thousands of denominations and all kinds of bible translations if we didn’t. Why do we think that Jesus came to save the right thinkers? Why do we think that if we are more right than the person next to us then somehow we are better off? I wonder if we get to a point where we think we are so right that we can only become a teacher and not a learner. Why do I desire this abstract feeling of rightness so badly; badly enough that I am willing to give others the feeling and reality of wrongness? It’s as if rightness trumps over any sort of grace I have for anyone else and as long as I can walk away knowing or at least under the impression that I am right, I feel ok.
It is this desire that fuels apologetics and proving God’s existence. All through high school was a key leader in the Christian group and I used to absolutely love tearing into someone else’s beliefs that didn’t line up with mine. My English teacher was a homosexual sympathetic, and at the time I made sure, over and over again she knew homosexuality was wrong. I loved being right and making sure everyone around me knew I was right. I loved telling people that evolution was messed up and creation was the only one that made sense. I didn’t even care about them at all, I just pretty much said what was right and then walked away. I wonder how much of our so-called evangelism now is nothing more than just saying what is right and then walking away and then feeling good about ourselves because of our position compared to theirs.
Maybe being right is overrated. Maybe, just maybe, I can let some things go and not have to prove myself right and make myself look right to all the onlookers. Maybe proving my weaknesses makes more sense sometimes. Maybe the very fact that I have to prove I’m right says that there is probably so many flaws that I’m the farthest thing there is from right in the first place.