Everybody’s wrong



There’s battle lines being drawn

Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong

                  – Stephen Stills

After I printed in a Catch earlier this week a couple lines from the Stephen Stills song “For What It’s Worth,” recorded in 1967 by Buffalo Springfield, my good friend, Paul Clark, returned an email with just the opening line of the second verse of that song: “Battle lines being drawn.” It reminded me of how one popular song can capture the imagination of a whole era. In this case, it was the protest movement and political unrest of the late ‘60s culminating in the civil rights and anti-war marches of mostly young people of my generation who wanted to effect a change in their culture. And not only that, it reminded me how a prophetic song such as this one can also speak to just about any generation.

“Battle lines being drawn” is certainly an accurate observation of today’s culture, over 50 years later. The battle lines are everywhere today: between Republicans and Democrats, between immigration policy opinions, between Trump supporters and Trump haters, between gay supporters and anti-gay forces, between gun rights and anti-gun activists, and the list goes on and on and on. I would think it’s safe to say there are more battle lines today than there were 50 years ago when this song was popular.

But it’s the next line that cuts through much cultural confusion and speaks to what I think is the most striking truth in all culture wars: “Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.” It’s a brilliant observation and one of my all time favorite popular music quotes. When people are divided into two completely opposite camps, neither one can be 100% right or 100% wrong. Reality is much too nuanced to fall into such neat categories. In fact, when you get people of differing opinions to actually talk to each other, you usually find they aren’t as opposite as they appear on the surface.

Divide society in half and everybody’s going to be wrong. This is why as believers, we need to be careful when we take sides. There’s going to be something right and something wrong about any position you take in society. Being on the side of truth is going to put us somewhere in the middle. And because we want to be able to reach those on both sides, we would be wise to find out what we can agree on versus focusing on our differences. Everybody needs the gospel, whatever side they are on.

Joshua once encountered a powerful angelic warrior when he was on his way to lead the children of Israel into battle. “Are you for us or for our enemies?” he questioned the man. The answer is something we need to cultivate as we make our way through the minefields of the culture wars of our day. “Neither,” the man replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” (Joshua 5:13-14)

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7 Responses to Everybody’s wrong

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    Great Catch & great song!

  2. thesonsarefree says:

    I can’t help but think that many political battles waged by Christians are with the notion that Christ is somehow pleased – or requires us – to prevent the world from sinning. Realistically however, if we stop someone from committing what we believe to be sin – or wrong – does that save the soul? Or is it simply our job to show the world Christ and let Him deal with their (individual) sin?

    Revelation 22:11 is particularly sobering with regard to whether or not we let sinners sin … it’s also mind-blowing to consider its placement in the Bible – as if Christ’s final instruction to His people on earth, before the scriptures were sealed up and copyrighted by Zondervon, is to simply “let them be”. That’s not the only place Christ expressed a kind of “live and let live” approach … when Peter got up in Christ’s face about John, Jesus said “what is it to you what I do with him?!? YOU follow ME!” Indeed, we have enough trouble of our own – enough of a job to deal with our own flesh and position before Christ, to try and clean up someone else’s life.

    Christ said “If I – even I be lifted up in the world – I will draw all men unto myself” … would that we stop lifting up so many things (politics, doctrines, etc.) about which people can not agree, and lifted up the ONE upon whom we can agree: Christ. Lifting up anything other than Christ, repels men in disagreement – lifting up Christ draws men into agreement.

  3. John A Fagliano says:

    “Being on the side of truth is going to put us somewhere in the middle. And because we want to be able to reach those on both sides, we would be wise to find out what we can agree on versus focusing on our differences.” This also applies to the lines drawn between Christians and those who are not. Listening to their complaints could mean hearing a lot of truth. Many of the criticisms of todays church that you have made yourself can easily be echoed by those who don’t believe. They need to hear from us that we do not think we are 100% right about everything and that this is not about defending an institution known as Christianity but rather about putting trust in a God who them. Then maybe we’d have one less battlefield where lines have been drawn.

  4. John A Fagliano says:

    Oh my goodness! I meant “…putting trust in a God who LOVES them!” Talk about not being 100%, I left out the most important word!

  5. Gary says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong. Is the angelic warrior indicating that God doesn’t choose sides? When I read that God tells Joshua in Chapter 6 “See I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and valiant warriors.” Am I and others to be label anti-gay, as a believer, saying as sinners, God will accept all from where their at, though I don’t agree with their life-style. The Holy Spirit will bring about the life-style which is acceptable to God.

  6. Sandra J Campbell says:

    This can also be applied to relationships and I’m thinking particularly of marriage. My daughter was married to a man who was very controlling and manipulating and always had to have the last word and always had to be right. Nobody wins in that case.

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