I have a friend who says, “I thought I was conceited till I found out I was perfect.” He usually goes on to say, “I thought I was wrong once, but found out I was mistaken.” And then tops it off with, “I’m not conceited. I’m convinced.”
There’s a difference between self-confidence and self-centeredness.
It’s one reason I’ve always been amazed at the story of Jesus. He is described as the perfect Son of God. The Bible calls Him blameless. He knows things no else knows. He’s able to do things no one else can do. Yet, we never see him strut. He works miracles and teaches with authority. He has confidence, but not conceit. He has the wisdom to win every argument and the ability to put everyone in their place with just a few words. But He doesn’t. Instead, He deals compassionately with people. Even when he argues with the self-righteous religious leaders of the day, while He always wins the argument, it’s with an amazing lack of swagger.
If I had that kind of knowledge and power it would be tough to resist the urge to make my point, work my miracle and then get up in someone’s face, “BOOM – stick that in your pipe and smoke it!” I’d want to spike a scroll and strut around the room doing a little miracle dance. But that’s not how Jesus did it.
It causes me to notice a few things.
Jesus didn’t come to prove points. He didn’t come to win arguments. He didn’t show up to show off. Jesus came to make a way. He came to speak the truth. He came to give us life. He came to save. No one ever came to faith in Christ after losing an argument. I’ve never met anyone who said, “Yup, I used to be a die-hard atheist, but after you put in me in my place with all those brilliant and undeniable facts about a Creator I just had to give in and believe.”
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have our arguments. We should speak the truth in love. As we do, we should remember that our purpose is so much more beautiful than proving points. The purpose is to prove love. That’s what Jesus did. He didn’t come to prove points. He came to prove love.
He was right. But He was more than right. He did the right thing, the right way, for the right reason. This is true righteousness. It comes with confidence. It’s convincing. It causes people to stop and take notice. I may not yet understand or agree with everything you just told me, but the way you told me speaks volumes. It means we’ll have this conversation again.
Being right is not enough. Be righteous. Show compassion to people. Speak the truth in love.