Modeling Kindness over Being Right


By Tash McGill

kindnessWhen our need to be right overwhelms our ability to be kind, we lose our grip on Grace and find ourselves in the grasp of Pride.

Pride closes doors on conversation. We’ve all been there, right? Trying to have a discussion with someone who won’t even try to consider a different viewpoint from their own. There’s no room for understanding, no room for growth or change; there’s not even room to agree to disagree in a healthy way.

That’s because living from a position of pride is like living behind a stone wall without a door. When nothing can get through the wall, there’s no chance to build mutual respect or understanding. Pride destroys intimacy, relationships, and our ability to live in peace and respect with one another. You can’t live in community if you can’t get out from behind the wall or through it to engage with other people.

If you need to be right, really need to be the right one in your relationships. It’s a sign that deep down, you don’t respect the other person.

Arguing which perspective is true and who is on which side of each debate, prevents us really loving others as ourselves.

In youth ministry, this has an impact on our relationships with our churches, with parents, with ministry peers, and even with students. And maybe most importantly, we either choose to model Pride or Grace and Kindness as they observe how we interact with others in times of disagreement. That modelling teaches more than your official lessons on pride and kindness will ever teach.

Hope for our communities and reconciliation in times of tension and disagreement lies in learning how to live with each other. Why is it so hard? Because we often mistake what we believe to be right for being what is ‘good’. And we have a tendency to oversimplify what is good for us as being good for everyone.

If you catch yourself using phrases like ‘well, the right thing to do would be..’, pause and check yourself. Right for whom? Are you being kind where you can? There are lots of things that contribute to that stone wall we like to hide behind—insecurity, unmet expectation, hurt feelings, fear. Truth will unveil all of them eventually. So you might as well play your part now.

Truth is rarely as simple as right vs. wrong or good vs. bad. That’s why Pride is so dangerous—it stops compassion and empathy in its tracks: makes it hard to be human.

So practice being kind instead of right. In every discussion or argument consider whether or not you actually need to win. Must every ‘I told you so’ leave your lips?

Go be kind today, even when it kills you. And choose to model kindness and grace for the teenagers who are watching you.