I wrote a post on the Mulvane Voice.
The Mulvane Voice is a Facebook page where people can comment on community happenings, invite people to events, but mostly, tell everybody if they find a stray dog.
Oh yeah…one more use of the Mulvane Voice: To tell other people they’re wrong.
Someone will complain about something, somebody else will tell them their wrong, and complain about the other person’s complaining. This goes back and forth several times, until a third person tells the other two that they’re both wrong, and lamenting how the message board has become one big place for telling others they’re wrong.
My post was an invitation to this year’s blessing of the animals. We set up right next to the city pool on the evening when they have a special doggie swim. Lots of people love the idea of thanking God for their precious puppies. It’s a great time of outreach, and a lot of fun.
And I was looking forward to it, until somebody replied to the post to tell me I was wrong. That animals have no souls. They quoted Ecclesiastes 3:1, which says, “Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”
And then, lots of people chimed in, on both sides. The whole thing was a big mess until my wife diffused the whole thing by pointing out this was simply thanking God for our pets, and nothing more.
I think those words, “You’re wrong”, should be used sparingly. They are potent words, creating division, polarizing people, and staking a claim to the truth that might not be one’s to stake.
This online argument, about the presence or absence of a soul in animals reeks of an inner desire to be disagreeable. Or to be right. Really, isn’t that what we are saying when we claim “You’re wrong”? We’re declaring ourselves to be right. There may subjects and situations where that kind of confidence is warranted, but most of the time? Being right is just not that important.
Far more important is to be loving. Remember this?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. –1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Remember, Paul did not write these words for a marriage ceremony, but for a church community that had taken to seeing the “wrong” in each other. Love here is not some gushy, uninformed sentiment. It is a truth-focussed, other-centered declaration A better way to act and behave. It is a way that has slipped away from so much of our world.
I never give advice in these devotions, but I feel compelled to today: When you are conversing with someone, in person, over the phone, even on a message board, avoid, as much and as long as possible those two words: You’re wrong. The moment’s flash of superiority they may gain you will so quickly be replaced by an empty void where love might have been.
As for me, I realized that if I could bless a bunch of strange dogs, I could struggle to offer a blessing for all us strange folks on the Mulvane Voice. Call that what you will, but if you call it love…
you wouldn’t be wrong.
My dog, Tom Petty, getting ready to help bless the animals.