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Three Words That Lead to Failed Relationships

Aug 18, 2007
"Steve, you like to be right." The words seemed a little silly when my good friend Larry said them to me. I mean, of course I like to be right. Who doesn't? None of us wants to be wrong. How foolish would that be.

"You like to be right so much that you're willing to run people over in the process."

Ouch! Now I knew what he meant. Prior to that conversation, I was proud of what I knew. I would never put my brainpower in the Mensa league, but I thought I was pretty smart. Of course, the arrogance those thoughts brewed was thick. So thick, in fact, that others saw it very clearly. To the point that it destroyed many relationships along the way -- and made many others very difficult (especially for the other person).

I prided myself on my debating abilities. I was good at squashing the arguments of other people. And I was good at squashing the person as well.

Larry made me realize that I used three words better than just about anyone I knew. Obviously, those three words were not, "I love you." They were, "I am right." And the way I used them said, "I love me" very clearly.

We all like to be right. The very basis of Christianity is truth. Even Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." He was the embodiment of Truth. But God is more than just Truth. He is also Love (1 John 4:16).

When we like to be right so much we forget to love, God makes it very clear that we're not walking in truth (1 John 2:9-11). So, in effect, we can be so right that we're wrong.

What I realized after my conversation with Larry was that I don't have to fight to win every argument. That doesn't mean I try to be wrong. But when I talk with others and we disagree on something, I don't have to be offended. I don't have to make them see things my way. I don't have to beat them up with truth until they see things my way. All I'm responsible for is presenting the truth. If they walk away and don't see things my way, but there's an open door for further discussion, I've won a victory. No, I didn't win the way I like to win. But I've preserved a relationship and opened a door for further discussion down the road.

I also have to remember that I'm very fallible. It's quite possible that I could be wrong. And in discussing matter with others, I always have to leave that possibility open. Otherwise, I'm not teachable. But, because of our fallibility, we should always remain teachable.

This doesn't mean that truth isn't worth fighting for. It just means that I'm very concerned about how I fight that battle. Is it to come out on the other side of the battle with a crushed enemy -- or one that has joined my side? In physical warfare, crushing the enemy is considered a good way to win. But in spiritual warfare, it's a good way to lose.
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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