By: Counselor Lori MondShine
“If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.” 1 John 2:29.
I have a confession to make. I am a “Right Fighter." I don’t like to fight, but when I do it’s because people need to be educated and understand where they are wrong so they can be right, like me. I’m doing it to help them. I don’t want them to walk in darkness and stupidity, especially if their darkness and stupidity could impact me! And let’s face it, it feels good to be right. I’m not the only one that’s “right." I see it in many, many relationships.

Husbands who correct everything no matter how small – “No, the guy on the baseball mound is not called a quarterback."
Wives who challenge decisions and techniques – “Just because you were raised like that does not mean it’s a good idea!”
Christians who suit up and march into battle against brothers and sisters, wounding the ones they are called to love.

We fight over who is right about things said, or events, or what should happen. Right focuses on what is correct, on the task, the behavior, and the information, separate from the person in front of you. Rightness assumes I know what is correct in any given situation. And what I deem correct is true and now is the time, so it is more important than the person who is “wrong."

But Righteousness seeks a relationship – a right relationship – a relationship that is God-honoring, not on a desire for me to be honored because I’m right.

Righteousness embraces growing in “grace and knowledge” (2 Peter 3:17-18). It focuses not just on information but loving others. It trusts God’s timing and ability to reveal. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies (1 Corinthians 8). Love builds up.  

“Rightness makes you wrong, but Righteousness makes wrong things right.”

For too long in my Christian walk, I lived for Rightness instead of Righteousness. It is so much easier to be right (according to my own standard). Do a little research, grab some facts, get Bible verses to back up your stance – and voila! Rightness. Or maybe it’s more rightly called, self-righteousness.

Jesus was never wrong. If we must be right like him before having a relationship– well, let’s skip to the truth. We couldn’t do it. We have right standing before God. We have His righteousness because Christ’s death made it possible. He desires relationship with us even while there is still so much about us that’s “wrong."
I heard a pastor say, “Rightness makes you wrong, but Righteousness makes wrong things right.” James said, “love covers a multitude of sins.” That may be worth pondering. 
I love the truth of God’s word. Truth matters. Jesus is the Truth. But if I’m speaking the truth without love…that’s not right, it’s just noise.

So maybe it’s time to consider that:
  • A right thing done in a wrong way is wrong.
  • A wrong thing done in a right way is wrong.
  • A wrong thing done in a wrong way is wrong.
  • A right thing done in the right way with the right focus and with the right spirit (God’s) is righteous. 

Come on now – you know I’m right.

“And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith." Philippians 3:9