Missy Always Right

14 Jun

I grew up hearing the phrase, “The customer is always right!”

But I love this sign on Fleegleman’s Kosher Deli: “The customer is always right; misinformed maybe—perhaps impolite, stubborn and irate, even dumb—but never wrong!” *

As a kid, I had a bit of a know-it-all attitude. One of my playground nicknames—because I was always pointing out infractions of game rules—was “Missy AlwaysRightAlways Right.”

Over time, I learned a bit of humility. I may have known the right rules or had the right answer, but I learned to bite my tongue. I discovered an important concept:  no one likes those who feel they have to “be right” all the time. I was sabotaging my relationships. Being ‘right’ isn’t always the best way to nurture friendships.

Unfortunately, I swung too far the other way … from know-it-all pride to “whatever.” I was afraid to stand up for truth. Scared to speak my mind. Frozen … without a voice. I started wimping out, spiritually.

In time, I learned I could let others have their opinions too. I didn’t have to argue every point. As my Grandparents said, there might be “more than one way to skin a cat.”

But on the other hand, there were some things worth fighting for. Paul encouraged believers to “stand firm then, with the belt of truth….” (Ephesians 6:14). “Be on guard; stand firm in the faith;” he said, “be courageous; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). He balanced this with another truth in verse 14: “Do everything in love.”

It’s this balance I needed instead of swinging from one extreme to the other. We don’t have to hit people over the head when they have a different belief system or even different convictions. But there’s nothing wrong with speaking up for our own beliefs, even if other people don’t like them.

We need courage to stand for what is right, combined with tact and understanding. Sometimes we see the whole picture and have a firm grasp on the truth; but other times, we need to be quiet or ask for others’ input.

As Winston Churchill said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

For the Christian, this is where the “one another” verses kick in. We’re to love, encourage and be kind to one another, even as we teach or inform (John 13:34; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Ephesians 4:32)—not to put down, lord-it-over, or intimidate others with a puffed-up sense of being right.

Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. There’s nothing wrong with speaking up about our convictions when circumstances are appropriate. And perhaps the toughest time to do this is with friends and loved ones who disagree with us or think we’re taking things a bit too far. (But if God is our Ruler and He is speaking to our hearts, can we do anything less than obey Him—regardless of others’ responses?) The scriptures command us to hold fast to the Word of Life and to the confession of our hope in Christ (Philippians 2:16; Hebrews 10:23). Holding fast is connected to standing strong.

So let’s get this “always right” thing straight.

  • Being “always right” is negative if our words are accompanied by pride or a desire to put others down, even if our words are true!
  • But being “always right” is positive if our words are grounded in the scriptures, shared with conviction and courage, and flowing from humility and a desire to share God’s truth in love.

Isn’t that positive kind of “always right” what you want to be?

– Dawn

* Humor: “The Customer,” http://www.getamused.com

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