“Of course I think I am right”. When I teach or preach I want to speak the truth and I believe I do. The reason I am confident is because I study and am prepared to teach. (2 Tim. 2:15) I use plenty of scripture to back up my words and try to stay true to each passage. (2 Tim. 3:16-17) My goal is not to show people how smart I am or how eloquent I can speak; instead it is about God’s saving message. (1 Cor. 2:1-2)
I believe most religious teachers and preachers feel the same way about their teaching. After all, who in their right mind would teach error on purpose? At the same time it is clear we cannot teach conflicting views and everyone be right.
So how can I be wrong when I think I am so right? The answer is simple; I can convince myself I am right when I am wrong. It may come from misinterpreting scriptures (1 Cor. 2:14) or because I am uncomfortable with what the Bible teaches. (Matt. 19:25) This was the problem of Jewish leaders who closed their hearts to truth because they did not like Jesus or His teaching. (Matt. 13:14-15) If they accepted Christ, then a whole lot was going to change in their lives and faith.
They had no excuse for misreading the Lord or His teachings because of the proof and clarity of the message. (John 5:31-40) The same is true about those who rejected the apostles’ teaching. Their message was backed-up by miracles and given in a way so the simple could understand. (Mark 16:20) I do not believe most people knowingly do wrong or teach error, not even in Bible times. Instead, their own wants or ideas blind them to truth. Perhaps they convince themselves to believe error because it is what they want to hear from false teachers. (2 Tim. 4:3-4)
Notice what Peter said about Christians who can be so easily led astray. He describes them as “ignorant and unstable” because they “twist” the Scriptures to their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:16) He warns them to “take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.” (2 Peter 3:17) It is possible for me to think I am right when I am wrong if I am persuaded by false teaching. (2 Peter 2:1-2)
Sometimes we take a weaker position because we do not have all the answers. So we begin to question ourselves and doubt basic Bible principles. (2 Thess. 2:1-3) And if we are not careful we start to “twist” God’s Word to soothe our doubts. We do what many did in the New Testament; we ignore or deny the apostles teaching for the sake of our own comfort.
Now we fast-forward to today and we see the same problems and issues. I am firmly convinced most who teach and practice infant baptism, for example, believe in what they are doing. As do those who believe baptism comes after forgiveness or those who say faith alone saves. I am not willing to say people are dishonest just because they teach something different from me. Maybe I am the one who is wrong, mistaken, or in error. Did I ever think of that prospect? But know this, no matter how honest and sincere people are, error can never be the truth. (Matt. 7:21-23)
“Of course I think I am right.” This world is in a moral mess and people do what they want no matter what. Not me though. I care about what God wants from me morally and I am a good person most of the time. Just do not understand how anyone could break into someone’s home or car to steal what is not theirs. How could they cruelly hurt someone without remorse and even get a thrill by their actions? I am so glad I am not like that.
This reminds me of the Lord’s story about the Pharisee when he prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men.” (Luke 18:10-14) We need to be careful in our condemnation of sin that we do not forget we are all sinners. (Rom. 3:23) And while I may not be as “bad” as someone else, I am bad enough to merit God’s wrath. Thankfully, He has given all of us a way to escape what we deserve. My hope comes from God’s grace, the sacrifice of Jesus, and the Words of the Holy Spirit. By humbly surrendering to God’s Will I can walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. (Col. 1:9-10)
Sadly, many think they are right with the Lord even though they ignore His Will on morality. It is again a matter of me convincing myself I am right when clearly I am wrong. The Bible is not vague about sexual habits, uncontrolled anger, backbiting, drinking, or any number of other issues. (Rom. 1:18-32) Yet many think they can please God and still do what they want. Our society has come to discount what God says about these actions. Inspiration tells us, “that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal. 5:19-21)
“Of course I think I am right,” but that does not make it so. It is up to me to study with a pure heart. It is up to me to examine my life against God’s Word. It is up to me to not let others deceive me or draw me away from truth. Remember what Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)