We have a saying in the motorcycle world: it’s quite possible to be “dead right.” I ride in Phoenix and the drivers here are not so much aggressive as thoughtless and unaware of their surroundings. Demanding the right-of-way and taking the attitude that I will just take what belongs to me is a great way to wind up as a statistic. In other words, there is “right” and then there is “dead right.” Every decision on a motorcycle has to be made through the grid of whether or not the rider is willing to be “dead right.” You might have the right to do something, but will asserting that right be beneficial or will it lead to death?
This is very similar to the way that Paul viewed his ministry. In the midst of a discussion on his rights as an Apostle of Christ in 1 Corinthians 9, he says this: “Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. “ (1 Corinthians 9:12) He knew that using his rights would lead to hindrance of the gospel, which he couldn’t stand. He would rather be wronged than be “dead right”!
How often I have seen people willing to be “dead right” in their relationships and in their decisions regarding life. I get to see the tragic wrecks of “dead right” decisions all the time, and frankly it breaks my heart to see. Where have I seen it?
- Parents who have a “right” to enjoy their leisure time any way they please exposing their kids to neglect, to harm emotionally or psychologically, or to unhealthy habits like alcoholism or similar habits.
- Spouses who demand their spousal rights. This might be a husband who demands his wife submit to him regardless of his decisions, or a wife who demands sexual response from her husband at difficult times. It might be a spouse who demands a spotlessly kept house or a perfect financial record.
- Friends who demand that those around them walk perfectly with Christ and cannot show them grace when they are wrong. They must always be proven right in every discussion of doctrine or practice.
- Bosses who have inordinate expectations and employees who take advantage of company policies.
- Christians who demand their rights to one matter of conscience or another (drinking is a common one, as is movies with questionable content) as their “liberty in Christ” when around others.
All of these, and many more, may be “rights” that we possess, but that does not make them right to use. We, too, can be “dead right” in our demands on others.
How about you? Where have you been in danger of being “dead right” in the past? How has God grown you out of that?