Being In The RightFeatured — By Mark Davidson on August 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm
One of my father’s favourite quotes is:
“There’s nothing more dangerous than someone in the right.”
It’s a quote that comes from the context of living in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, where many people on both sides of the community believed they were firmly ‘in the right’.
When you see a friend being beat up for having a drink on the wrong side of town, it’s easy to feel you are ‘in the right’. When you see a place in your community blown up it’s easy to feel you are ‘in the right’. When your relative has to leave the country because of a potential threat to his life, it’s easy to feel you are ‘in the right’.
There are plenty of stories like this in Northern Ireland. The problem came as people decided what do when they felt they were so clearly ‘in the right.’
And without going into any more details of a very complicated and dark time in Northern Ireland’s history, politicians and community leaders would use the justification of being ‘in the right’, and they used to defend words and/or acts of hatred against their enemies.
Sometimes there are things more important than being ‘in the right’. You see, it’s easy to find yourself ‘in the right’, but much harder to stay there.
Jesus had so much to say about the way Christians are to deal with people who disagree with them. About turning the other cheek, and so on. In 1 Peter 2, Peter reminds us that Jesus was ‘in the right’: “He committed no sin, and deceit was found in his mouth” (verse 22). However, verse 23 tells us: “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”
I wonder is that the attitude the world sees Chrisitians and/or the Church display?
A survey by the Barna Group of 16-29 year olds in America found the following results:
“The vast majority of non-Christians — 91% — said Christianity had an anti-gay image, followed by 87% who said it was judgmental and 85% who said it was hypocritical.”
“Anti-gay. Judgemental. Hypocritical.”
These are not words I think the apostles would have used to describe Jesus or the church they were trying to create. Yet, in America at least, this is the image Christianity has to those who do not believe.
Why? Perhaps because too many within the church there believe it is enough to ‘be in the right’ without treating those they disagree with in a gracious, loving and Jesus-glorifying way.
In response to the survey, Andy Stanley, senior pastor of North Point Ministries said:
“If we were able to rewrite the script for the reputation of Christianity, I think we would put the emphasis on developing relationships with non-believers, serving them, loving them, and making them feel accepted,” he wrote.
“Only then would we earn the right to share the gospel.”
As Christians we have a message worth hearing. A message of a perfect saviour who gave His life for us, and let out the words “Father forgive them” towards those who had put him on that tree.
In conveying that message, it’s important that we not only share the story of Jesus on the cross, but model the attitude of Jesus on the cross as well.
The cross is not only our means of redemption but also a model of behaviour: a way of reminding us of what our attitude should be towards others. We are forgiven, so we should forgive.
There’s nothing more dangerous than someone in the right. Let us remind ourselves daily that there was only ever one person who truly was.