That wasn’t right.
Her husband, telling a story about one of their kids, got part of it wrong.
Ever been there? Listening to him, knowing his facts are incorrect…
Ever jump in and make it “right?”
Or do you let him be wrong?
Some of us are throwing our relationships on the sword of “truth” – in an effort to be “right” and share what is “true.”
If you are linear in your thinking, what I’m about to suggest will sound like I’m telling you to lie…
But I’m not…
I’m just saying, let someone else be wrong sometimes.
Does it really matter if the car was blue or red? Does it really matter if the event occurred when you went to Camp Petersburg or Camp Holliday? Or when your son was 11 or 12?
Think about how it makes others feel when you correct them – especially when it is done in public. Think about how it makes you feel.
Dare you today to follow this great advice in Proverbs 17:
9 He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
19 He who loves a quarrel loves sin; he who builds a high gate invites destruction.
27 A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even tempered.
28 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent and discerning if he holds his tongue.
Understand this: interrupting others to get the facts right is often perceived as disrespectful, and few people like to be corrected in public. This may very well be our own desire to control reeling its ugly head.
So let others be wrong sometimes – stop majoring in the minors and having the critical spirit of the perfection police.
IF the content actually matters a lot (which often, it really just doesn’t, but sometimes it does) then ASK A QUESTION, instead of saying, “You’re wrong, it was…” or, “That’s not right, it was…” Instead try, “I might be wrong here, but for some reason, I remember it differently – were we doing XYZ (or whatever)?” Or “I might be mixing up the details, but didn’t he say to pick up the car on Friday before the long weekend (or whatever)?”
I have heard people say, “I can’t just sugar coat things, I’m a straight shooter.” Or, “I’m not going to handle him with kid gloves, I tell it like it is.”
Understand that having good people skills is like climbing a ladder – at the very bottom is “telling it like it is.” As you climb up the ladder, you move through “please,” and “thank you,” and the “language of respect” like “asking questions,” and “not criticizing,” and “encouraging others.”
You can’t stay at the bottom of the ladder if you want to improve your relationships and do conflict well. Those are higher level skills.
You can also ask a question later about the facts – “Baby, was your mom visiting in October? Or was it November? I thought she came right before Thanksgiving last year.”
And if you live with someone who constantly corrects you, do two things:
- Try to get the details right. Try harder to tell the truth.
- Look at it as an opportunity to be long suffering and as a help to killing your pride. We ALL need practice with this, and understand that our perfection police officer has a deep desire to control typically because he/she lives in fear. That’s worth some grace on our part.
- If the correcting is frequent and interfering with your other relationships, it might be time for a gentle Matthew 18 confrontation. “Honey, I need your help with something. I know you are concerned with me getting the details right – and I’m working on that. I need your help with our teen sons, however. They respect me less when they see you correcting me as frequently as you do, especially when I’m in the middle of talking. I would prefer that you correct me privately later, instead of in the middle of a discussion, unless it immediately impacts something actionable. I will go back and let them know the real details later, but I find that it undermines my authority to be corrected by you this frequently in front of them. Will you help me with that?”
Dare you to “get off the bottom rung” today! I know, it can be hard sometimes! I have spent too much time there, myself. 🙂
So glad you are on the journey with us!
Love to you,
What about you? How do you keep from “shooting” others with your words? How is God growing you in this area?