So recently, I was wrong.
I know, right? This almost never happens to me. I am usually right. I bet you are, too.
I was wrong, but not in my content, my facts, I was wrong in my attitude. I was wrong in my presentation of my facts. I was wrong in the way I treated someone else with whom I disagree. And because of all that, I might as well have been wrong in my content.
Right facts presented with wrongness in the way I speak shuts the door on communication. It means that the person I disagree with will never listen to my words, they only hear my tone. It means they will immediately become convinced of their own rightness because they are the injured party, a victim of my words.
The walls of defensiveness are up, and they will not come down. Not in this conversation, and because of memory, possibly never in future conversations. I have set the tone for our interactions. It will take a lot of right interactions to reverse the effects of this one wrong one.
What is to be done, then? Apologies have been made, and forgiveness offered. But I can’t get it out of my head, just how wrong I was in my rightness.
I think we all find ourselves here from time to time. We come to the end of an interaction, and we wonder about what we could or should have said better, but time does not allow for do-overs. Our only choice is to take the wrong from this situation and make good on what we have learned.
To speak with respect, even–and maybe especially–to those with whom we disagree. To offer grace, and think the best of those who may be misinformed. To take a breath and release the indignation that comes from being convinced of our own rightness. To recognize the beautiful image of God in the person before us. To offer respect so that respect may be offered in return. To hear the heart, to see behind the words and tone to the deep concerns that drive them.
To find the common ground on which we stand, even if that is simply our own humanity.
Finding a way to make good on our past wrongs.
Now that’s ReFreshing
For some great resources on wrongology, check out Kathryn Schulz’s TED talks: