I come from a long line of stubborn women. I too, am stubborn and opinionated. It’s just a fact, plain and simple. It can be a gift. I will not quickly bow to the fanciful voices of other gods vying for my attention. I firmly stand in the face of opposition with confident composure believing wholly in my cause. I am a woman of great faith. But like any great strength, once overextended it can be an area of weakness.
There are two areas in particular that come to mind where this is the case. One, when the stubborn individual is just flat out wrong. I don’t mean in cases that are subjective either. Have you ever met someone who is holding firmly to something without foundation, baseless and formless? They try so hard to stand on the vapor and can’t imagine why anyone would proffer the suggestion that it may not support their weight. They’re falling, yet every attempt to catch them only leads to more insistence that they are just fine and dandy. The rest of the world is forced to watch, helpless, as they crash. It’s so frustrating and often leads to the second area where stubbornness can be a problem, when two stubborn people face off.
The stubborn face off can occur when one stubborn individual confronts another stubborn individual on matters of principle. Both equally passionate parties will live and die for their ideal. Neither will yield or compromise. Neither will even entertain the notion that the other party may have even the slightest bit of sense behind their argument. So they lock in and stand off. Most of the time, both have an element of rightness on their sides. Sometimes the argument is beyond pointless and doesn’t matter at all in the grand scheme of things. The wise man, in such a case, would agree to disagree and walk away, but we’re not always wise are we? I vividly remember arguing with my brother for days when we were younger because he insisted that the sky was never blue, it was in fact purple. It seemed a noble cause at the time.
Other times, the argument is of vast importance. In situations like that, shots are fired, wars are fought, governments are shutdown…okay I’m not going there.
To the stubborn individual, rightness is a necessity. I know one stubborn person (who I am in a stubborn face off of sorts with at present) who will idly throw out a remark and the run before I can respond. It irks me and makes me laugh at the same time.
The truth is, I’ve decided that sometimes peace is better than rightness. Though I would be tempted to fight the battle to the end and slay the demons that I deem to be clouding the truth in another person’s mind, if I know the battle will not lead to healing, the fight will lead to deeper cuts in an already wounded soul, then the most loving thing I can do is to remain silent. Sometimes words I offer with the best of intentions, fall on deaf ears and further divide the heart of this person who I long to see live free. It is then, that I, the stubborn one, must learn to love instead of lead. I often need to learn to bind up what’s been broken instead of proving truth to a heart not ready to hear. This is not an easy thing.
Do I possess enough love for another that I can surrender my sword of correctness to offer support when the vapor isn’t going to hold? Maybe I can even come underneath the falling soul and break their fall with kindness and mercy. Maybe that is what Christ did for us. When we were blinded by our own agendas and sin, Christ loved us enough to be crushed, bruised, beaten and scarred. Then he rose victorious, taking with him the keys to all the things that could come against us. He held captivity captive and freed us from the prison of…us. He, the only one who was actually right all of the time, was willing to die, not to prove himself right, but so we could be right before the Father.
I would venture to guess, eventually we will all realize that we don’t know nearly as much as we think we do.