I can be one of those people I hate most – a know it all. I get so entrenched in what I believe and wonder how anyone else might not see things the way I do. If it helps, I’m getting better, or at least I’m getting better at hiding it. In my early adult years, I had to prove I was right. These days, I’m more able to let things slide, especially the inconsequential issues.
What changed in me? One phrase: Do I want to be right, or do I want to be like Jesus? Not that Jesus didn’t speak the truth; He absolutely did. I notice, though, in His dealings with people how He would lay out the truth and then allow them to process His words. He didn’t scream and yell to make His point. I sincerely believe He wasn’t making backhanded comments on Facebook or calling people out on Twitter. He spoke the truth in love and left it there for the person to grapple with on his or her own.
I think of the case of the rich young ruler found in Mark 10. When he asked Jesus what must be done to inherit eternal life, Jesus began by listing a few of the Ten Commandments. The man said he had done all of those things. In his mind he had followed all the laws and figured that would be enough. Then Jesus took the conversation to the next level by peering into the man’s heart and challenging what was most important to him, his money. In the account Mark tells, the young man went away sorrowful.
What happens next is Jesus using the moment to teach His disciples. He didn’t run after the guy, trying to hammer home His point or guilt the man into falling in line. That’s not what love does. Love speaks the truth and then loves the one who may not yet believe that truth.
We all come to understand deeper revelation at different times. So when we know something, especially a spiritual truth that someone else hasn’t been enlightened to, our only option is to tell and even show what we believe when possible. Beyond that, it is the work of the Spirit to open the eyes of the person in disagreement with you. Or maybe the work of the Spirit will open yours. I can’t count the number of times I’ve dug in on a matter only to be led towards a new or varying perspective over time.
I just know this: When we care more about being like Jesus and less concerned with being right, love wins every time.
Love is victorious when we love unexpectedly. I have seen the result of that in two cases recently when the surprised person was moved nearly to tears by unexpected love from someone of whom they expected the worst reaction.
Love declares a win when we look more like Jesus and less like a know it all. We can know it all and know little of love.
I pray I learn to love more unexpectedly and demonstrate it more willingly. Just because someone doesn’t believe what I believe, love freely given may win them back. That’s a lesson we could all stand to learn, especially us know it alls.
It’s okay to know stuff. Just be kind and love one another until they get a clue. 😉
Blessings to you and yours,