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Are You Willing to Fight for the Rights of Others?

Aug 18, 2007
Have you seen the TV commercial where the mother and daughter argue about the girl's cell phone? The first time I saw it, it really caught me off guard. That's because the argument is completely backward. Instead of yelling at each other for the things they do wrong, as you would typically expect from TV, they yell at each other because of how good they are to each other.

If you've seen the commercial, it probably threw you for a loop the first time you saw it. We don't expect people to fight for other people. We don't have any problem with it when soldiers fight for our freedom. We're not surprised to see someone stand up for the rights of someone else -- defense lawyers do it all the time. But when it comes to arguments between individuals, it's rare to see the parties look out for the rights, the dignity, and the honor of the other person.

The Scriptures tell us that arguments arise because of "selfish ambition" (James 3:16). So disagreements that elevate into arguments do so because at least one of the arguers is seeking their own good, instead of the good of the other person.

In marital relationships, this often comes out when the argument is over what is best for one person rather than what is best for the family. Sometimes a husband will put his career over what's best for the family. Other times a wife will put her wants over what's best for her husband.

I saw this not too long ago when some friends contemplated taking a job in another city. The husband was certain the job would be great for his career. The wife was positive the move would rip their family apart. They were both right. The move would enable him to land a huge promotion that would greatly improve his standing in the company. But it would also take them away from all of their close family and friends. So how did they solve the problem?

First, they both had to give up their so-called rights. The husband felt he had a right to take the job. The wife felt she had a right to raise their family around godly family members and in a supporting church. They both had to give up these rights. Only then could they work together to reach a common goal.

The trouble is that most couples don't have a common goal. Their priorities are all out of whack. The husband is working to build himself up. The wife is doing everything she can to protect the world she's comfortable in.

To set a common goal, they must determine their top priority. Lost in most arguments is a clear direction about the priority of the family. Once you settle on God and building His kingdom as your family's priority, your sole devotion is to reach that goal. At that point, your own rights fall to the ground as wasted effort. And the only arguments you need to have may sound something like those put forth in the cell phone commercial.
About the Author
Steve Kroening writes for Success magazine and also publishes Wisdom's Edge. You can get Biblical tips on health, finance, relationships, parenting, and success, delivered to your email inbox every week. Simply visit http://www.wisdomsedge.com and sign up for this free e-zine.
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