Gentle and Right

“Why do you want to do this now?” my business partner asked. “it’s not the right time.”

I sulked for a moment, then retaliated. “I’ve been doing most of the work all on my own for the past month. What does it matter to you when we decide to do it?” (This wasn’t true but felt like it.)

Obviously, we didn’t see eye to eye. My reaction was to totally disregard his position on the matter and inflate my own. That soon soured our friendship to the point where I doubted I’d get an invitation to his wedding. Troubled, I turned to another godly friend who would surely agree with me. I even presented Scriptures to back up my perspective!

My friend said, “How much do you value the relationship?”

I considered. “I value it very much.”

“Then it’s probably best you apologize,” he said. “That’s more important than being ‘right.'”

I’m thankful I chose a friend who had the same posture Jesus showed in situations like that. Look at Mary and Martha, sisters who were deeply loved by Jesus. When He and His disciples visited, both sisters wanted to be good hosts, which in that culture indicated deference, honor, and respect. Martha got to work feeding all those men. Mary chose the role of a disciple and sat at Jesus’ feet listening to Him.

Even if you’re not familiar with this story, you can imagine how Martha felt. “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” Instead, Jesus went to the heart of the matter, speaking tenderly to Martha. “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42)

Mary made a good choice, but so did Martha. After all, she could have complained to someone else. Instead, she went straight to Jesus.

When I have a different position than someone I love, how do I respond, and to whom do I run? Do I understand why the other person holds their position? Am I curious? Confession time: God, I want to be gentle, and I want to be right: very rarely can I be both. Give me your posture.

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