It Is Not Enough to Be Right.

figure bending an arrow upwardYou must prevail.

I have not been able to find the source for this quotation.  Similar ideas show up for Abraham Lincoln, William Paley, and Henry David Thoreau.I’ve been reminded of this idea on a number of occasions lately when I’ve expressed an opinion, been disagreed with, and then basically said by my words and/or my reactions:  “Oh, well, have it your way.”

Here’s the thing:  If my opinion doesn’t really matter, then I probably should just keep my mouth shut in to begin with, in the spirit of my New Year’s resolution about not offering unsolicited advice.  Why should I bother?

But if my opinion does matter, if I do think it’s important, then I should persist, at least until it’s abundantly clear that I’m not getting anywhere or until the question is OBE–“overtaken by events.”  Once it’s done, it’s done, and there’s no point in pursuing the issue then.

So for me the takeaway is:  Be sparing with your opinions, with statements about your convictions.  Make them count.  Don’t waste your credibility on unimportant matters.  Don’t cry wolf.  If you have proven yourself to be a reasonable, respectful person, then when you must address a point you will be much more likely to prevail, or to at least get a hearing.In other words, maybe I should follow James 1:19: ” . . . Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (NIV)

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