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Getting It Right

I heard a story about a little girl. Her dad was reading the newspaper. She was coloring a picture. She asked, “Dad, do you think we could be perfect like Jesus is perfect?”

Her dad responded, “No, honey. We’ll never be perfect like Jesus is perfect.” Discouraged, but not deterred she goes back to her drawing. She switches crayons and looks back at her father. “Hey Dad, what about for one year? Could we be perfect like Jesus is perfect for a year?”

“A year’s a long time, sweetheart. I don’t think we could do it.” He says.

This time you can tell she has an idea. “What about for one month?” she presses. Again, dad says no. “What about for one week, or one day, one hour, or even one minute!?” Excited now, she continues, “Dad, do you think we could be perfect like Jesus is perfect for just one minute?”

Thoughtfully, her dad puts down the paper. “Yeah. I think we could be perfect like Jesus is perfect for one minute.”

Without hesitation the girl looks at her dad, “Then dad, why don’t we try to live like Jesus – one minute at a time?”

Getting it right isn’t about one giant right decision. It’s about a million small ones. You can get it right today. It happens one minute, one decision at a time.

Right Is Not Enough

Being right is not enough.

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.

John 14:6

The Beauty of Being Right

I love a good story. Some of my favorite stories have nothing to do with the valiant hero rushing in to save the day. Sometimes leadership finds it’s fullest expression, not in the perfect prince, but in the simple beauty of being right.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle developed one such character who still influences modern story-telling today. Sherlock Holmes was the brilliant detective with the skill to deduce who-dun-it using only his powers of observation. He famously said, “Remove the impossible and whatever is left, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

In spite of his brilliance and skill as a detective he had a variety of character defects that made him, how shall we say, a challenge to work with. He was arrogant, abrupt and often rude. His interpersonal relational skills left a lot to be desired. He had a stunning lack of personal hygiene. He was addicted to opium and his hyper-intelligence kept him always just on the edge of madness.

Several characters in modern television are based on Sherlock Holmes.

  • There’s Dr. Gregory House – the genius, infectious disease doctor at Princeton Plainsboro in the TV show, House.
  • Dr. Cal Lightman, the man who specializes in deception detection, on the TV show Lie to Me.
  • On the lighter side there’s Shawn Spencer, the fake psychic-detective who uses his keen power of observation to solve crimes in a decidedly Holmesian manner on the TV show, Psyche.
  • Don’t forget Monk, the obsessive-compulsive detective, and the Mentalist also.

I’m certain there are others I’ve left out. The influence of Sherlock Holmes on our culture is undeniable. We seem to be fascinated by the highly intelligent, borderline dysfunctional people who achieve remarkable success, not through the skill of their leadership or the force of their personality, but because they are right.

It’s difficult to overstate the significance of being right. We all know that nothing builds momentum like success. It’s hard to deny that being right is a leadership force multiplier. Nothing grows success like success. In spite of all the idiosyncrasies of all these characters, regardless of the fact that they rarely hold the position of power or authority, in the end, people, often reluctantly, give in to their will and their way. Why?

Because they are right.

However you lead, whatever your position, take time to be right.

God Bless,
Chad