Have you ever wanted to be right? Maybe in an endless Facebook thread, or perhaps an argument with a loved one. After you won the argument, how did you feel? In John chapter 8, we see the beautiful story of where Christ was lured into an argument. But his response is surprising.
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. John 8:2-6
The Pharisees wanted to lure Jesus into a debate of facts. Jesus could have used the opportunity to display his knowledge, he could have impressed everyone with his mastery of the law, he could have made the priority to be right. But he didn’t take the bait. His main focus in this encounter is how can they see love. How can this woman see love and forgiveness? And because he focused on love, he saved her life and gave her a chance to start over.
The question must be asked, what would have been left if Jesus had used that time to prove himself right? Well…not much. Probably just a carpenter, a dead woman, and some angry Jews.
In our own relationships with people, we must ask the question “What’s left after right?” Certainly, there are situations where you want someone to be right. Your doctor and your accountant come to mind. But think about the last argument you had with a friend, a spouse or a loved one. After the “right” was proven and they were proven wrong, what was left? Was there some grand, life-changing awakening? Perhaps. But usually, when you engage in an argument for the mere sake of being right, there usually isn’t much left but hurt and regret. Love must be the priority in all of our interactions. Without love, people really don’t want to hear what you have to say anyway.
The next time you sense that a situation with another person is escalating, take a moment in prayer and ask God to give you the discernment to answer the question “What’s left after right?” You may just find that, in fact, “Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)