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Can I be right and still be wrong?

What do you do when you encounter a problem in your life? I’m a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, a follower of the Christian Way, cowboy, and here’s what fell out on paper today after I had encountered an obstacle in my life. The other day while my son and I were training some of our young horses, this question came to mind. Can I be right and still be wrong? Some of my friends and I were joking about this in relation to our wives and it came back to me after an altercation with my young horse. Here’s how it played out with my horse and me but afterward I wondered if the principles might apply to other problems I’m confronted with.

First, I come up with a solution to my problem. In the case of my young horse, I was trying to teach him to gently give in to my wise and benevolent leading as we traveled across the arena in perfect harmony. He on the other hand thought it might feel good to go running and bucking across the arena to be closer to his buddies. Clearly, he was wrong! My problem; how do I apply my perfect solution to our mutual situation. I could become angry and force my solution on the situation which might further elevate, pardon the pun, my problem. With an animal that weighs 1000 pounds, can run 30 miles an hour, and jump eight feet in the air all at the same time, demanding my solution could get me a tombstone at the local cemetery. Even though I’m right, I don’t want to be wrong.

How to apply my solution. So, here’s where the Christian part of this cowboy kicks in. Please bear with me. In Philippians 3:12-16, the bible says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if at some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers and sisters if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” I like to cross-reference things in the Good Book to get the whole picture on a problem because, even though I may be right, I don’t want to be wrong.

One of my wise mentors used to tell me to feel what my horse is doing, ask him to adjust, and be ready to reward the slightest try. In this situation with my horse, I had to stay calm and gently slow him down and then be happy with little improvement at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and though Rome’s a long way from the corral, it does speak to patience, perception, persistence, and praise. If I ask one way and it doesn’t work, I shouldn’t get rattled. I should gain understanding, adjust my approach, then try again until I get my point understood. That should help me when I’m right to not be wrong.

So with these thoughts swirling around my hat, I employed a little patience with my unruly horse and kept from having any violence or bloodshed and we both went back to our respective feed troughs a little tired but still on the same team working toward a common goal. Next time you're confronted with a problem and you are sure you have the answer, maybe this ride can help you too to be right and not end up being wrong.

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