You’ve heard the old saying “You can be right, or you can be happy.” Although I would argue it’s much deeper than that, I do agree that there is a lot of truth in that statement. The other day while driving, I observed this in action. The light I was stopped at had turned green and the car in front of me just sat there. I was, as I usually am, in a hurry, and so I started to get annoyed. I huffed and puffed and placed my hand to the center of the wheel to start honking as I peeked around to figure out why he was just sitting there. At that point, I saw a car coming toward us from the opposite direction quickly approaching the intersection. Without hesitation or warning, it turned left, running the very red light and recklessly crossing our path.
Well, there you have it, little miss in-a-hurry. Aren’t you glad now he didn’t go? I received my moment of humility as I realized that I didn’t actually know everything and there was more at play than what I could see. Don’t you just love those teaching moments? (about like I love the taste of cough medicine…shudder). The car in front of me wisely sat still, anticipating and accepting this car’s blow through their red light and left turn across our lane. It all happened within a few seconds, but that was all it took for me to start thinking, start applying this to my own life, my marriage and relationships. We’d all be much later than 5 seconds late if the car had lurched forward as its green signal popped up. Because that car would have crashed into the one that ran the red light and then we’d be all stuck behind the wreckage and unable to go anywhere soon. Just like in life – there are times that we may just be better off to sit patiently instead of causing damage just because we have the right of way.
I toggled this around in my head. You see, I’m a “justice” person. I like it when things are fair. I don’t like to let people get away with wronging others, so it’s hard for me to accept that sometimes you gotta just let it go and give it grace. But, as this little car in front of me taught me, there are times that it’s better to wait for the small infraction to pass than it is to be right. He technically had the right of way – his light was green! But if he had pressed on the gas, he’d have caused damage not only to the car that ran the red, but also his car… AND would have held up traffic for all the rest of us. Just like harm in a relationship – there is often collateral damage.
You see, being right can sometimes cause more hurt than letting the small things go. Many times, humbling ourselves and yielding to another protects both them and you from heartache. Giving grace is a way to show love even when someone may not deserve it. The definition of grace is “free and unmerited favor.” It’s hard to accept, hard to give, but oh-so beautiful. It isn’t earned. By definition it can’t be earned. That’s what makes it a truly remarkable gift. And what makes it hard for us lovers of justice.
I know it’s no fun swallowing the pride and the urge to argue your case, believe me I do. But sometimes dear friends, it’s just not worth that momentary desire to be right. I’ve found it’s far better to choose your battles – you and your partner will both have less scars that way. -Lindsay
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-8