Two Wrongs Can Make a Right

Two Wrongs Can Make a Right (1,252)

August 28th, 2011

It happened again. I screwed up and I immediately tried to figure out devious ways to screw it back down before anyone noticed I had unscrewed it. It’s such a waste of time. The energy that each one of us expends, plotting our excuses and escaping responsibility, probably shortens our lives by twenty years.

Yet it seems difficult to comprehend the importance of the phrase, “Own it.” The fact of the matter is, much less time would be spent in incrimination if we told the truth than is sapped by others pummeling us with criticism when they discover we have lied. What causes this? Is it that we want to escape responsibility, appear perfect or avoid all critique? Or, in some bizarre fashion, is deception exhilarating?

I’m not sure. But I know this—as I have made it my mission in life to become more transparent, I have had less conflict, less fussiness and less intervention from others into my space. So there is a “wrong” that happens in our journey that is obvious even to us. When it is obvious to us, the best path is to quickly take ownership of the moment, get it over with and start moving towards restitution and reconciliation instead of repudiation and retribution.

But behold, there is a second “wrong.” This one often escapes the common man’s review. Because there are things we do that are not obvious to us—but are obvious to others because they cause offense. And these offended individuals will let us know that we have breached their comfort zone and they require some retraction.

Now, this is where most of us go haywire—because our first instinct is to accuse the offended individuals of being too sensitive, or maybe telling them that they have “misunderstood” us. Whatever turf we gained by grasping the concept of “owning” our faults is quickly lost as we once again exercise our pernicious attitude of making excuses.

At times we even become abusive towards the bruised souls and see them as “attacking” us because they don’t like our approach to the matter. I will go so far as to suggest that most relationships do not break up over blatant sinful actions, but rather, over trivial disagreements that escalate into huge storms of complete misunderstanding.

Here’s the truth: if someone says that I have offended them—I did.

Whether I meant to or not is irrelevant. The only response to anyone who claims they have been offended is, “I’m sorry. And now that I understand your heart in this matter, I will be much more careful to be sensitive to your need.”

That’s it. Now—if you find that the offended person continues to be touchy, you have a second choice. Avoid him.

Some of my best friendships with folks have occurred as I’ve lessened my personal contact. It has sweetened the time we do have to be together, and it’s taught me that when I am around them that certain subjects are taboo. Yes, I’ve been shown it. People will show you where you have intruded into their person psyche.

If you’re going to become a person who discovers true righteousness, you will recognize the potential for both of these wrongs—one of them of your own making, which you need to own, and one that is the offense of others, which you are often shown.

You can’t find what’s right if you don’t understand the wrongs. Simply stated, it’s “I did it” and “I’m sorry I offended you.”

Anything else added onto these two phrases is not only useless and boring, but just continues to frustrate the situation with meaningless chatter. If you learn how to handle these two wrongs, you can create a right. So two wrongs can make a right. If you don’t, you will spend all of your time thinking up ways to defend yourself or excuse yourself—entirely too many hours discussing instead of living. It’s just not worth it for four-and-a-half seconds of prideful satisfaction.

So make up your mind. The two wrongs are inevitable because of our humanity. We will err and if we are willing to admit it quickly, it will pass just the same way. We will offend—and if we love people enough to allow them to have their own feelings without clearing them through us, we can apologize, learn and even avoid too much contact, which may cause further offense.

For after all, being a “good person” is not always agreeing with everybody else. Being a good person is taking honest self-assessment—and making sure you allow your neighbor the same courtesy as you grant yourself.

Published in: on August 28, 2011 at 10:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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