Focus: Giving up the need to be right
Isaiah 53:7 (NIV) He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth.
As we are trying to get the victory over depression and dependency, an area that will surely be tested is whether we are willing to let go of our need to have the last word. When you’ve already lost a lot of your dignity and possibly had to give up some of your possessions, your opinion may be a little hard to part with. Sometimes when you have a headache or didn’t sleep well, it might be especially tough.
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‘Being right’ can be optional. It isn’t absolutely necessary to be right all of the time. In fact, the more you decide to give up the need to be right, the easier it gets. When there’s tension in the air over some issue, it can sure make life easier when one person is willing to ‘let it drop’.
Some people just like to argue. It doesn’t matter what the subject of conversation is, a person who enjoys arguing will take the opposing view just to get things stirred up. They actually don’t care what the topic is at all. They are just used to differing and pushing a point. If you decide to let them have the last word—they will often mock you, just to try to keep things going. Or, if you try to accept their point of view—you might see them change their position and start arguing from the opposite view they were just trying to convince you of.
In that kind of situation, you have to be willing to let them say what they will—if you really want to have peace. It’s hard to have a conversation of any kind with people who have a habit of arguing and not become defensive. But, that’s where the test comes.
Another test besides getting to the place where you don’t have to have the last word, is giving up your right to defend yourself and take the blame for something that really wasn’t your fault. This can be complicated. We’ve all seen it played out in some dramatic situation on TV or in a movie, where the ‘hero’ gives up his right to defend himself. While you’re watching, you can’t help thinking, ‘Why doesn’t he say something?’ But, the point is being made that the person has made the decision not to come to his own defense. It seems like it would be easy for him to say the truth about the situation—he just doesn’t.
Jesus is the best example of both of these types of humility. As He was being questioned before His crucifixion—He was right and He knew it. He just didn’t have to prove anything to those who opposed Him. He knew His purpose was to die, and arguing about things wouldn’t have helped one way or the other. He wanted to see the fulfillment of God’s plan for mankind carried out—so He laid down His rights and let history take its course.
In Exodus chapter 14, we see the story of the children of Israel being led out of 400 years of bondage in Egypt. After the pharaoh decided to let them leave—he changed his mind. They had been sent out peacefully, but suddenly, the whole Egyptian army was coming after them in hot pursuit. As they approached the Red Sea it seemed like even though they had finally escaped, now they would be killed. Moses told them, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Almost everyone knows the end of that story. God caused the Red Sea to part. The water literally stood up on the left and right, creating a passageway through the sea. The children of Israel walked across on dry land, and as the Egyptians tried to come after them—they were swallowed up as the walls of water collapsed.
God honors those who are willing to put their trust in Him. When we are willing to lay down our rights—He will fight for us. We may not see an immediate change in our situation—we may never see a change at all. But, God will bless us for humbling ourselves.
Try to comfort yourself with the words, ‘God knows’. That’s all that really matters, isn’t it? In the end—He will have the last word in your behalf. Cultivate the attitude of desiring ‘peace at any price’. ‘Being right’ isn’t worth as much as ‘having peace’. If you think ‘proving your point’ will bring peace, you’ll probably be disappointed. Being right doesn’t always bring unity…and unity is an important part of peace. Someone who always has to be right doesn’t usually have very many peaceful relationships.
Declaration: I will find new strength by laying down my need to have the last word. I will be still and let the Lord fight my battles. I will pursue peace at any price—even at the cost of my right to defend myself.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.