“It is more important to be kind, than it is to be right.”
Those words were spoken over my wife and I on our wedding day. Our officiant did an incredible job and she spoke with wisdom all throughout her message. But this line is one that has stuck with me more particularly than many of the others. Although she was specifically applying it in the context of marriage, the principle can be expanded across all of your relationships.
What a counter-cultural thought, right? I mean, at the very core of it we are talking about something that tends to others before we tend to ourselves. Not only is that not our natural tendency as human beings, but it’s also not what we are told to do by most messages that we are intaking as we go about our lives.
More and more we are becoming an individualistic society. One that preaches, “you are capable of anything you put your mind to” and various other self-focused mantras. Very rarely are we taught how to let others into our stories, trials, and successes, or how to treat those people once they begin walking with us.
All too often this leaves us successful in our personal goals, rich in our finances, and powerful in our careers, but yearning in vain for true, meaningful relationships.
To foster that kind of intimacy you have to understand what our officiant told us that day. You have to understand that in your relationships, humility is more honorable than pride. That grace is more valuable than proving a point. That self-sacrifice is the lens through which you should view all of your actions.
There are countless other virtues that are important for you to practice as you seek out meaningful relationships in your life. I’m not here to break every one of them down and I’m certainly not here to tell you I have it figured out. But I am here to spur you on, as brothers, as fellow gentlemen, towards greater depth in your relationships.
It is of highest importance that a gentleman seek out, as well as thoughtfully mature, deep relationships with those around him. It’s not only important for him, as this is the way he will grow and be challenged, but this is also the only means by which he can bless others in a truly significant way. You can only bless the lives of those around you as well as you know their hearts. Make sure, gentlemen, that you are intentionally investing in the hearts and lives of the men and women who have entrusted you with them. That you are readily giving of yourself and practicing such virtues as ensuring you are kind before you are right. That the words “I forgive you” are coming out of your mouth far more than “I told you so”. It’s in this way that you will make the impact that you are responsible to make as a gentleman in this modern day.
So go. Go and seek out meaningful relationships. Go and be kind. Go and be patient. Go and show grace. Go and invest in others. Go and retell the story so many generations before us have told…that when we are dead and gone, the most noble legacy of all is one that leaves those that were placed in our path saying, “he was a man that gave of himself, so that others would be loved”.