“…we will NEVER understand the word the way it should be because we have our pride–the need to be right–and in your case [to] be recognized as being right even when you’re not.” This is one of those common arguments spread around today by those who are of the false belief that Christians should never have an argument or take a firm stand on doctrine, because to them it’s more important to have “unity.” If you were to examine this criticism of “being right” closely, it is contradictory in nature. While the person uses such a statement to criticize a Christian who claims their doctrinal stance is the right one, they themselves are claiming that their stance against that Christian they criticize is right. So they are displaying the very thing they claim isn’t right–namely, the need for being right.
Therefore, this argument by its very nature cancels itself out since it’s a contradiction and reveals to us that the need for being right is a valid need. But that’s not to say we should continue arguing with the same individual ad nauseum, ad infinitum, until we make them see things our way. Sometimes it’s just good to walk away after both parties have said their piece.
The need to be right can be for good or for evil depending on the circumstances. Christians are called by God to a state of being right. Being right is at the root of righteousness with God. Without drawing the conclusion that what the Bible says is right about Jesus and the Godhead, and then personally adopting and applying those standards, one cannot meet God’s universal objective standards of righteousness. As Proverbs 12:5 says, “The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.”
We are called to obsess over how we draw doctrines from God’s word, for we are told in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” If the word can be rightly divided, by default this tells us it can also be wrongly divided. Paul saw this firsthand when he said, “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ,” (2 Corinthians 2:17) and again when he told Timothy, “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully,” (1 Timothy 1:8).
It has been my observation that critics of Christians who stand firm on good, sound, Biblically-correct doctrine and who tell those Christians “it’s not about winning the argument” or “it’s not about being right” say such things because they love the false doctrine or sin that they have grown accustomed to and don’t appreciate it when you make them feel uncomfortable about it.
Harry A. Gaylord