The Brotherhood of the Second Cross was established on Father’s Day 2005 where 160 men stood before their wives and children to pledge themselves to purity, self-sacrifice, loyalty, and excellence. Today, hundreds more have joined the commitment.
My driver’s education teacher had an interesting saying. He would remind us that “you can have the right-of-way and still end up dead.” Okay, a bit depressing, I know. But his point underscored the whole idea of defensive driving. Being right wasn’t enough. You have to be careful too.
I’ve heard the idea behind his words in a few other settings. Have you heard someone say, “Follow your heart, but use your head”? Same idea. Desire without wisdom creates big problems. You can have the best of motives, but if you lack wisdom, you’ll end up doing right things in wrong ways–and that simply doesn’t work.
The Bible tells us to be “wise as serpents, but harmless as doves.” Same concept, just a different mental image. Being right isn’t enough. You have to be smart too. And being smart isn’t sufficient either. You also have to do what’s right in the way it can be most effective.
Wisdom and righteousness are intended as a package deal. For example, you can be morally right, but absolutely obnoxious. And, if you are, you won’t win anyone to your truth. Think of the way people often respond to street prophets. Their sign waving and offensive rhetoric may contain truths about a coming day of judgment, but their methods seem to lead very few from the pit. As they say, “You attract more flies with honey.” (Probably true, but not sure why you would use honey for that.)
Remember that “saying what you think” might get things off your chest and make you feel better, but if your target feels like… a target, you’ve probably mishandled things. Remember that the next time you yell at your wife or kids. You may be right in what you say, but wrong in how you say it. That’s a big piece of what the Bible means by “in your anger, do not sin.”
The goal of righteousness is not to establish yourself as the oracle of all insight. Instead, the goal is to win others to the truth you’ve discovered. To do that, you’ve got to use wisdom. Otherwise your method can compromise your message.
So as my driver’s education teacher often said, “Don’t end up being dead right!”