None of its dictionary meanings make me smile. (stalemate, standoff, deadlock, gridlock, bottleneck, dead end)
Here’s what it sounds like: “I’m not moving until you do, and that’s because I’m right and you’re wrong. And even if you’re not wrong, you certainly aren’t as right as I am.”
And so we stand on our ’high ground’ with arms folded across our chest, eyes glaring at the opposition and showing every intention of not moving until the other side does so first. This method of interpersonal relationship didn’t work well in the 1950s and 1960s when young drivers would meet on a deserted road and play ‘chicken.’
They would race at each other, both in the middle of the road. Their determination to acquire bragging rights lasted until their desire to keep living took over. However, some had so much determination to hold their position that it died with them in the middle of the road!
Don’t get me wrong. Strong determination is called for in athletic competitions, entrepreneurial enterprises and dealing with persistent bad habits. But in the realm of relationships it is toxic … deadly … and dead ending.
Solomon observed: “Pride leads to arguments,” then advised, “be humble, take advice, and become wise.” Proverbs 13:10 Living Bible There have been friendships meant to last decades and provide joy and companionship later in life that ended abruptly with both parties waiting for the other to make the first move.
Ironically, it’s often the party most ‘right’ who releases tension of their bow and quietly puts the arrow back in the quiver. Being the ‘most right’ is never a call for disobeying God’s instructions for dealing with conflict.
Consider Jesus who did not hang on to his privileges as the ‘most right’ person to ever live. He refused to get into a ‘stare down’ with stubborn humanity, but backed off all the way to the cross. That’s how important relationship is to him!
This week remember, you can be right but in handling it wrong end up lonely, bitter and missing God’s greatest gifts for your life. Living life at an impasse makes for an ugly fettered life. The Apostle Paul gives us great direction here for any willing to swallow pride and take a step back.
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” Colossians 3:12-14 The Message
May you journey with forgiveness and joy. Lay it all down!