Hi this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…You can be dead right.
When I was a teenager growing up on the plains of western New York State our school system didn’t have a Driver’s Education program. Back then parents taught their kids to drive. Although I had been driving on the farm since I was about 12 years old, at age 16 I did what every teen I knew did on their birthday. I went to the local county DMV office and took a written test that upon passing rewarded me with a driver’s permit. With permit in hand I was free to drive so long as there was a licensed driver in the car with me. Occasionally that meant I drove with an older friend but most times it meant my mom or dad were in the passenger seat. As I said, I had been driving on farm lanes so long that the fundamentals of operating a motor vehicle were already learned, unbeknownst to me however was the inconvenient fact that I needed to learn how to drive. Though the farm lanes went on for what seemed like miles and there was no lack of excuses to traverse them, I hadn’t needed to negotiate much traffic on empty dirt roads crisscrossing cornfields.
It wasn’t too long after beginning to drive on the ‘real’ roads that I left an intersection that had stop signs on every corner and began making a left turn in front of someone who was also pulling into the intersection believing that he had the right of way. I was certain that I had arrived at the intersection first and answered my mom’s gasp of fear of being in an accident with an indignant “I had the right of way”! I will never forget mom’s reply; I can still hear it in my mind almost 40 years later. She said “Ken, you can be dead right you know”. I laughed at her clever play on words, but quickly ceased when she said, “It’s not funny…I’m serious”!
Looking back, I’m not sure if I had the right of way or not, I may have…but mom was correct, you can be dead right. Pastor made a good point this weekend that reminded me of mom’s timeless wisdom. These can be trying times we live in right now. It is at the least, a very interesting time to be alive. The pandemic has brought with it many infringements on our way of life and some even seem to be stepping on our freedoms. I love being an American, and I cherish those freedoms that I have always been able to enjoy. I have lived abroad where such freedoms don’t exist in abundance and that has made them all the more special to me. Additionally, the fact that my late brother gave twenty years of his life much of it absent from the wife and children he loved fighting to defend those very freedoms also makes them precious to me. As citizens of this country we have many “rights” and it seems sometimes as of late that some of those are under attack and even being retracted without due process. In light of that it would be all too easy to become upset and say or do certain things in response and feel we were completely justified in doing so…after all right is right…right?
Not always…seems mom knew what she was talking about…you can be dead right. Just because we have certain rights doesn’t mean we can exercise them anyway we want to…and still BE right. I have the right as an American to free speech but God’s word tells me that if I don’t speak in love…I’m wrong. We can be in the right completely on one particular matter or another and yet we are instructed to treat those around us with mercy…even if by rights they don’t deserve it. As Christ followers we must take care that in exercising our “rights” we don’t become wrong. Why? Because we carry the Name of Jesus with us everywhere we go. Our job as Christians is to promote Jesus, not ourselves. Our “rights” aren’t nearly important as it is that those we interact with get the “right” impression of Christ and how our relationship with Him has impacted us.
Proverbs 28:5 says that Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully. Jesus said over and over again that words and actions of humility were always the right choice. He taught that we were to store up treasure in the kingdom of heaven and that it is by becoming humble and treating others with love that we make the largest deposits. The problem with “rights” is that they often lead to a prideful mentality which is the opposite of humility, and humility is the currency in the economy of the kingdom of God.
Micah 6:8 says, He has shown you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you, but to act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
So now, acting and speaking in ways Jesus finds right…go be awesome!