“Being right doesn’t show you care about their feelings.” This was the advice I overheard one teen give to another during a discussion about whether you should correct faulty thinking when someone is sharing their heart. Sometimes it’s hard to know when to set someone straight and when to let an erroneous comment go.
Many years ago, a wise marriage counselor told two type A know-it-alls who shall remain nameless, “You can be right, or you can be close.” That’s convicting. We tear apart relationships in our need to be right. Have you fallen madly in love with someone because he or she said, “I told you so?” Probably not because it’s not fun to be corrected.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I will tell you that on occasion the afore-mentioned married couple has weaponized the wise counselor’s saying against one another. “I’ll let you be right because I’d rather be close.” Translation: I know I’m right, but I’m also announcing I’m the bigger person, so there.” Because that doesn’t destroy closeness, right?
Bob Goff says you can either be right or be Jesus. Jesus didn’t make a show of correcting Zacchaeus the crooked tax collector (short guy in a tree). In fact, there’s no mention of Jesus rebuking him for his evil ways at all. He simply showed the man love and kindness, and the Holy Spirit or Zacchaeus’s own conscience did the work of correcting him.
So maybe it’s not that hard after all to know when to speak and when to keep silent when someone needs correcting. We are called to love and to be Christlike. The errant behaviors will come to light on their own without us damaging a relationship just so we can be the ones to say, “I told you so.”