Maybe you’ve heard a version of the sad one-liner from a beleaguered spouse, “I always wanted to marry Mr. Right, I just didn’t know his first name was going to be ‘Always.’” A few pastor friends have prayed for the “right” church, only to discover their pews are lined with Always Right members. In some churches, it might not be an “Always Right” husband, it can be the whole clan. “Always Right” husbands, wives, aunts, uncles and cousins twice removed fill their church. Thankfully in my current assignment, the Always Rights mostly left (Directional humor).
Here’s what I’ve discovered about the Always Rights (Mr., Mrs. and their distant relatives included.):
1) Always Right attitudes are not made in heaven. While history is littered with Always Rights’ ancestors (never made in heaven), the 2020 versions have been mostly made from an unhealthy mix of social media, news outlets, pandemic anxieties, social unrest and election year politics.
2) A medical degree is not necessary for the Always Rights to make medical or scientific analysis. The same holds true for theological positions. The Always Rights are quick to let it be known of the incompetence of the medical or scientific community or pastor because of their vast knowledge (Read: having consumed a steady diet conspiracy theories on Facebook or other “reliable” sources). A “Facebook PH.D.” coupled with extensive indoctrination from their version of the news holds full sway over a medical degree from Harvard, Yale or any seminary in the land.
3) Who’s hurt is of no consequence when their rightness is being expressed. Hurt feelings? Who cares. Causing divisions in the church? It’s not their problem. The only thing that matters is that their opinion is heard.
4). Offering counter (correct) facts is of no use. From the Always Rights’ perspective: Your facts are false. Your perspective is invalid. Your opinion is wrong. Your theology is bad. Your political leanings are skewed. Your intelligence is scattered (at best) or imbecilic (at worst). In other words: YOU. ARE. WRONG. PERIOD.
5). Don’t expect Mr. or Mrs. Right to offer an apology if/when proven wrong. I’ve encountered a spattering of the Always Rights’ distant relatives through the years, and few have spoken anything resembling even a half-hearted apology. If one can never admit to being wrong, there is no need to apologize.
6). In the mind of the Always Right clan, 1 Corinthians 10:23 (“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial.“I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive”) applies to someone else. Looking out for the good of the community or the church is not within their purview. When one’s vision is clouded by self-centeredness, it is impossible to see anyone or anything else.
If you’ve encountered some of the Always Right kinfolk, here are three quick points to consider (you might not like it, but read on):
1) The “Always Right” crowd are still loved by God (John 3:16):
2) The “Always Right” people are still your neighbor (Luke 10: 25-37); and
3) The “Always Right” folks still deserve your love (Matthew 25:39).
Just as we can’t always choose who we meet on the road of life; likewise, we can’t choose if we are going to love people or not. Jesus is clear. His followers are to love everyone– even the ones who are hard to love, annoying, aggravating and “always” right.