Years ago, I bought an iPhone. I don’t really know why I chose to buy an iPhone instead of an Android, but now whenever debates come up about the two competitors, I try to supply information that confirms the superiority of my choice! Is that because I desperately want Apple to succeed? Not really. I actually don’t care if Apple succeeds. I think I argue for the iPhone because I want me to succeed; I want my decisions to be correct. Researchers say that once we take a public stand on something, it takes an almost shocking amount of humility to back down.
I recently read Kathryn Shultz’s intriguing book called Being Wrong. On the back cover, the book description says: To err is human. Yet most of us go through life assuming (and sometimes insisting) that we are right about nearly everything, from the origins of the universe to how to load the dishwasher.
When was the last time you admitted you were wrong about something? Shultz goes on to say:
A whole lot of us go through life assuming that we are basically right, basically all the time, about basically everything: about our political and intellectual convictions, our religious and moral beliefs, our assessment of other people, our memories, our grasp of facts. As absurd as it sounds when we stop to think about it, our steady state seems to be one of unconsciously assuming that we are very close to all-knowing. (pg. 4)
Along with reading Kathryn Shultz’s book, I recently stumbled upon a verse in Proverbs I have rarely seen. It’s a not-so-gentle and not-so-subtle encouragement that’s for all of us! In the book of Proverbs we are told, Whoever hates correction is stupid. (Prov. 12:1) I’m not sure why but I’ve never seen this verse cross-stitched on a pillow or stenciled on the wall in someone’s house.
Many of us live as if we are all-knowing. Many of us don’t like correction. And yet we can spend ten minutes wandering the grocery store parking lot because we forgot where we parked our car! What does this say about the state of our hearts?
I have been continuing to ponder the truth that we looked at on Easter, that Jesus is not looking for good people but for humble people. A key characteristic in being humble is being open to others’ viewpoints, being able to admit when we are wrong, and being able to admit when we need help.
When we accept the reality of our own capacity to be wrong, we might be more patient with ourselves and gentler with others. We might begin to see others through a new, more grace-filled lens.
It’s hard to admit when I am wrong. Yet in doing so, I am humbled, and humility leads towards the Lord. That’s where I want to head, am I right?
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10)