The Wrong Way to be Right

January 24, 2020
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“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” James 4:10 (NRSV)
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I like to be right. Who doesn’t?

But I’d also like to think I’m able to admit when I’m wrong. It’s pretty simple to admit the little mistakes, apologize and ask forgiveness. Maybe I accidentally tossed my husband’s hang-up shirt in the dryer. Or maybe I missed a clear-cut deadline at work. I can admit being wrong then.

But what about the times when I’m really, really right?

The beyond the shadow of a doubt kind of right. The “How in the world can you not see my point?” kind of right. The kind of right where you want to go and rally everyone you know and get them to confirm just how right you are, so your righteousness is validated. What about those times?

When I’m absolutely, positively sure I’m right, it’s my job to dig in my heels and stand my ground. Right?

There’s a particular situation I’ve been walking through (and praying about daily) for quite some time. It’s one of those situations where I just know I’m right. I was praying about this situation as usual one morning, pouring out my heart. Asking for clarity. Asking for resolution. But then I did something I don’t always do. Taking my pastor’s suggestion after pouring out my heart in prayer, I sat silently and listened for that still small voice.

The verse that resonated in my head in those quiet moments was not the verse I had expected.

It was the words of James 4:10, which says: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” This was not necessarily the advice I had prepared myself to hear. But it made sense.

So much time had been spent digging in my heels and rallying my troops that I’d been anything but humble. I let the words sink in, reading them in context. It comforted me to understand James writes from a place of everyday life with Jesus, to people dealing with everyday conflicts and interpersonal struggles. I had been prideful. And puffed-up pride has no place as an ingredient in a recipe for resolution.

I’m still dealing with this particular situation, and I’m still wrapping my mind around the application of this verse in the context of my struggle, but in humbling myself before God, I know He will work out all things for good in due time (Romans 8:28).

Dear heavenly Father, help me to kneel before You and lay my struggles at Your feet. Give me the clarity and humility to see that interpersonal situations are not one-sided. Give me compassion to understand the viewpoints of others, and give me the capacity and energy to work through conflict in a way that is pleasing to You. In Jesus’ Name Amen. 


Philippians 2:3-5, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” (NRSV)

Proverbs 16:18-20, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit among the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. Those who are attentive to a matter will prosper, and happy are those who trust in the LORD.” (NRSV)


For whatever you’re facing, only one thing can keep your mind and heart right. And for whatever you’re facing today, God’s Word always has the answer. Will you join us as we continue to provide biblical resources for women around the world by becoming a Monthly Partner? To give to Proverbs 31, click here.




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What conflicts or struggles in your life have caused you to build barriers of pride? What are some ways you can practice humility in your everyday interpersonal relationships? We’d love to hear from you!

© 2020 by Kelly Barbrey. All rights reserved.

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