How wrong are you willing to be? Jesus was so willing to be the most wrong person in the world that he made himself “a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). However, Jesus learned to do that only by following his Father’s example. He was the perfect reflection of the Father in all things (Heb. 1:3), and he was willing to be wrong because he saw that depth of meekness in his heavenly Father.
We are like God only to the extent that we are willing to be wrong and that we are willing to step aside so that others may have their way. Repeatedly in the Bible, we see God making the choice of preferring for people to have their way than to force them to obey His will. He will not make us puppets to His will; He will not force us to do what is right. And yet, knowing that His ways lead to peace and joy for us, and knowing that our own ways lead to misery and regret, and in the end, death, He sends His messengers to us to plead with us not to go our own way but to follow Him. He calls for us to forsake our ways only because He loves us.
Everything you think you are right about is working against you, for it is keeping you from being willing to be wrong. Paul said that knowledge makes people proud (1Cor. 8:1). He saw that knowledge makes people unwilling to be wrong; that is, it makes them unwilling to let go of their “rightness”, and it causes them to look down on others who do not have the same knowledge. Jesus showed us that God is not like that. No one had as much knowledge of God as Jesus had, and yet he suffered for others as if they were more important than he was. But more than that, he did not impose his way of living on others, even though he knew that his way of living would save them. He begged others to repent and believe on him, and warned them of what would happen to them if they did not, but if they chose not to follow him, he backed off and let them go their own way because that is what his heavenly Father did.
Jesus humbled himself to let evil men have their way, even with him. He was willing to let them be “right”, to let them win over him and even kill him, if that is what they wanted to do, but their doing so cost them their souls. That kind of winning in this life costs people everything. Being the ones who were “right” in Pilate’s court made Jesus’ accusers as wrong as they could possibly be.
The goal of the gospel of Christ Jesus is not to make us right, but to make us like God. It is not to make us winners in this world, or popular, or wealthy, or powerful. It is to make us pure in the sight of God. But to be made pure, and to be like Jesus, we must first be willing to be wrong, to be very wrong, to be so wrong that everybody around us thinks we are wrong and despises us for it. That is where Jesus lived, and where he died. And because he was willing to live there and die there, he was raised from the dead in eternal glory. This is the glory to which he is calling us, the eternal glory that awaits every soul who is willing to be wrong in this world so that they may be found right with God in the world to come.