Posted by: Keith Clark | July 13, 2010

Wrong the Right Way

Over the years I’ve pondered the ways in which many of us have learned, intentionally or not, to be right the wrong way. We figure out how to use words considered clean and acceptable along with sarcasm and attention to tone of voice to communicate “cleanly” things others would communicate with obscenities. We attempt to be faithful and true to what we believe to be right in terms of Christian belief by attempting to discredit or, worse, by slandering those who believe differently. We rightly persist in a practice like gathering around the Lord’s table together, only we treat the meal as though it’s more a good luck charm or a weekly vaccination against the power of sin rather than a meal which reminds us of our having received both forgiveness and a calling to live self-sacrificially like Jesus. That is to say, we’re susceptible to, at times, being right the wrong way, which often cancels out whatever value was to be found in being right in the first place.

It wasn’t until I recently heard a line in a song, “We have to learn to be wrong the right way,” that I ever really thought about being wrong the right way. Let me be clear, I do not want to suggest we should strive to be wrong. Only a fool would strive to be wrong. But the reality is many of us can’t begin to consider the possibility that we might be wrong, especially in terms of our thought patterns. Many of us have come to grips with the fact God’s grace might actually be enough to cover our misdeeds, and so we are able to admit, at least in very vague, general terms, that’s we’ve been wrong. We’re not so confident, however, that God’s grace might actually be able to cover our misguided conclusions and faulty assumptions when it comes to our beliefs. We are, therefore, afraid to consider the possibility we might be wrong, much less admit we might be wrong. I’m convinced, however, we must come to accept that God’s grace is sufficient to cover our deficiencies of mind as well as of action, after all our minds are just as susceptible to mistakes as our bodies. Not only that, but if God’s grace isn’t sufficient to cover our deficiencies of mind, it is, quite frankly, underwhelming. All of which is to say, unless you’ve found some special gift that guarantees you’ll never be wrong about anything (in which case, why haven’t you shared this with me?), we are each at various times, and more frequently than we’d ever like to admit, wrong. And I’m convinced that’s God’s grace is sufficient to meet the challenges posed by our wrongness.

So I’m going to try to accept the fact that I’ll be wrong sometimes and I’ll ask you to accept the fact that you’ll be wrong sometimes. Perhaps we can all accept that each other will be wrong sometimes. Then for a next step, let’s commit together to practice humility and to hold loosely to our certainty about our rightness, so that when we are wrong, we can be wrong the right way.

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