In the midst of last Sunday’s sermon, our pastor said something that really caught my attention.
“You can be right or you can be kind.”
Our pastor went on to give a rich and thought-provoking sermon about God making all things new and about the Kingdom of Heaven but I was stuck on that one sentence shared earlier in the sermon.
I have a section in my journals about kindness and as I turned to those pages, a picture and a quote fell onto the floor.
The quote was from Richard Carlson – “Choose being kind over being right and you’re be right every time.”
The picture was another sweet reminder that once again, kindness trumps being right.
So, I’ve been journaling the last couple of days about this topic, asking myself, “How important is it to me that I am right?” and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not being right that is so important to me – it’s the desire to be understood.
I don’t need to “win” a discussion or an argument and I’m very aware that I”m not always right. There are many moments that “the lights turn on” in my head, when people articulate a different perspective or lovingly give insight into an issue and I like to think that I am teachable and willing to consider differing opinions. My weakness would be wanting to be understood but I know intellectually, that is is a blocked goal that is unhealthy and often unattainable. One of my life mantras is “be secure in being misunderstood” but the desire lingers, rears its ugly head at times and adds to the frustration level in a difficult conversation.
When it comes to relationships, I don’t believe that there is any victory in “winning“- there’s no satisfaction in “pinning your opponent to the floor.” The victory comes when the two parties have listened well, tried to understand each other’s perspective and felt that they have been understood. I believe that more times than not, these goals take a lot of time to accomplish and an enormous amount of energy….but when authentic, meaningful communication happens, it’s well worth it and honoring to God.
It’s not the “win” that I pursue; it’s the healthy communication and the peaceful resolution….and once in a while, I need to be reminded of the words of St. Francis –
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console, to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love.