How many times have you started a conversation with a family member, friend, or co-worker and when the discussion was over all parties walked away feeling empty, exhausted and unaccomplished?
In most cases, we want to be “right” and it’s our pride that impedes civility, clarity and unity. Unfortunately, we unintentionally and sometimes intentionally lose sight of our ethic and moral compasses.
When we become overtly obsessed on whether we are “right” or “wrong” we create more of a problem than being just wrong, because we often repudiate what really matters. The meanings of our exchanges with others, and the feelings that an action has produced in us, are sometimes more important than our ethic and moral codes.
So why is it so important to be “right”?
It is human nature to want to be “right”. We want to exist and be visible for our other half. The problem is that being “right” becomes more important than being considerate, meaningful and compassionate. Often we do not realize it; we just get “stuck” (or one of the two of us gives up) and the discussion does not lead anywhere. Yet, quietly the doubts start inside us and we lose, bit by bit, contact with our real self.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:29, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” In the OT, Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 10:12, “The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but the lips of a fool consume him.”
The point of all discussions is to remain objective. We shouldn’t be compelled to “win” the argument or “feel right”; it’s not a competition!We should aspire mutual understanding and we should always walk away from a conversational engagement knowing each party was at a bare minimum heard and understood.
Paul endorsed this methodology in Romans 4:19. He said, “So then, let us pursue what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” We must be cognizant and accountable of not only what we say, but how we say it. Our word choices, attitudes and demeanor should always build up the hearers in faith, holiness, clarity, civility, and unity!