I’m a pretty confident person. I also can be pretty persuasive and I’m also competitive. These attributes have served me well in many situations, but they also, occasionally, can make me a difficult person to be around.
When getting directions in a car, I know the best route. When wondering what time Target opens, I know– you don’t need to google it. When there is a conflict between our calendars on the correct date of an event, mine is right. If you wonder who sings that song on the radio? I know.
I know pretty much everything.
Oh wait. That’s a huge lie. I don’t know everything. But the reality is I act like it and then when I am wrong– well, it’s hard to swallow.
I hate being wrong. I mean, I loathe it.
Growing up in my house, if you were proven wrong in a situation you had to recite,
“I was wrong and you were right.”
“I was wrong and you were right, Mom/Dad.” We even had to say it to our brother or sisters if applicable. Those words practically tasted like poison in my mouth. I hated uttering them.
The longer I am married (only 480 days, but who’s counting?) the more I realize how important it is for me to say those words.
“I was wrong and you were right, honey.”
I say it just like that. Usually with an apology attached. Not in a sarcastic or snarky tone, just a simple realization. “I was wrong and you were right.”
My husband usually responds, “It’s okay” or “I know” or “Honey, it’s fine” and he means it. I married a peacemaker. Even if he knows I’m wrong and he’s right, he usually doesn’t feel the need to prove it.
This is a great/horrible thing for a “know it all,” competitive, confident gal. It means instead of arguing 90% of the time, we get along 99.5% of the time. It means when I’m wrong and need to apologize he doesn’t rub my face in it, instead he graciously accepts it.
Unlike me, he doesn’t need to hear me confess that I was wrong and he was right. He already knew that was the case and that was enough.
So why do I need to admit “I was wrong and you were right”?
To practice humility.
We’ve all heard the saying,
“Pride comes before the fall!”
My sister actually pointed out recently that the actual verse says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)
But what does that really mean? Pride comes before the fall or destruction?
In my mind, whenever I heard that proverb, I always envisioned some chest-puffed-up king literally growing bigger and bigger as he climbed a giant mountain he was aiming to conquer. The longer he climbs the mountain, the larger he grows with pride. Yet, the moment he reaches the top, his physical body has grown so large– even larger than the mountain itself– he topples off the mountain, falling to his shame.
Weird, I know. But there’s something about the way I’ve pictured that verse, that it doesn’t really motivate me. Then last week, I happened upon this Proverb.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)
And I realized that what motivates me more than not wanting to fall (or being disgraced— that’s a strong word!) is that I want to be a woman of wisdom.
I pray for wisdom almost every day.
I need wisdom in my job, relationships, and pretty much every time I breathe. I am desperate for it and truly ask God for it on a daily basis.
And the way to wisdom is humility.
(And the opposite of humility is pride.) So in order to practice humility, I have to confess to my husband (and my friends, family, and coworkers) that “I was wrong and you were right.”
Sometimes other people need to hear me say those words for themselves. That simple phrase can calm anger, heal hurt, and bring peace. But often times, that confession is more important for my own heart than anything else.
I can be a strong and confident woman, but I also want to be a woman of wisdom.
So, in order to be a wise, strong, confident woman, I have to practice humility and confess out-loud (more times that I would like ;)), “I was wrong and you were right.”