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The need for being right: is it a valid Christian “obsession”?

“…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.I win

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

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6 thoughts on “The need for being right: is it a valid Christian “obsession”?

  1. Being a Pastor for a long time and a Christian even longer I agree with most but not all of your post. There are some debates in Christiantom that will never end, both camps claiming they’re rightly deviding the word of God and it seems there’s no end to it. The debate between those on John Calvin’s side and those on Jacobus’s side. This is at least one area of Gods Holy Word wrongfully devided I believe on both sides. And one area that I think unity with my brothers and sisters on both sides is much more important than picking a side.
    Pastor Larry

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    1. You’re right, Larry.

      Some debates will never end until Christ returns as it pertains to opposing groups within the church. Just to clarify what I meant–when I mentioned walking away from an argument, I specifically meant when an individual approaches another individual in the church about a doctrine they disagree on and they want to have a one-on-one debate. Sometimes in those cases, it’s best not to entertain them for an extended period, especially if you’ve already discussed it. But I’m sure you probably already know that.

      When it comes to the Calvinist vs. Arminiast arguments, I would agree both sides are wrong. Paul settled this type of debate when he confronted the Corinthians about their divisions. Some said they followed Paul, some said they followed Peter, and others said they followed Apollos. Paul pointed out that this was nothing but a reflection of their spiritual immaturity, their carnality. Then he pointed out that since God is the one who gives increase to the church, those who plant and those who water (like Paul, Peter, etc.) are nothing. So when a person rightly divides the word of truth, they will agree with Paul and avoid such divisions to be right. Incidentally, this is why I personally don’t belong to any denomination.

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  2. Proverbs 21:2: Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. I take this to mean that it’s difficult for us to see and/or acknowledge the errors of our ways and things we may be ignorant about. Therefore, when it comes down to the day of judgment, the Lord God will have the ultimate say when he examines our hearts and motives. In the meantime, God allows us free will to make the right choices. Therefore, people’s claims that God is not right because he allows bad things to happen will fail. It is people who decide to intentionally and maliciously hurt other people and not God. If God stopped them, they would then claim that he is unjust and interferes with people’s free will. So, it would be a no-win for God, either way. Inherently, people learn the basics of right and wrong as a kid.

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    1. Amen. People who are comfortable with their sin, as you alluded to, really don’t want God to win because they would have to admit they are really no good which would be admitting God was right about them after all. It’s much more convenient to make God the bad guy to deflect the blame away from oneself.

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