The Great Waster: Determining Who is Right or Wrong


IT IS AMAZING how much energy, time, and resources are greatly wasted (by otherwise intelligent, successful people) in deciding and declaring who among us is “right” or “wrong” in a matter. With the exception of civil or criminal legal matters, why, oh why, do we entertain the Great Waster?

Why must it be the Holy Grail of situations and relationships that someone (or a group of people) be deemed “right” or “wrong” in matters of dispute or failure?

Thereafter, so much more energy, time, and resources are expended by the “Holy Grailer’s” meting out the consequences they deem appropriate, for better or for worse. But, what if the Holy Grail basis for determining “right” or “wrong” is – well, wrong? Then what?

Messing with Theology

In any given situation or relationship, there usually reigns a leader (or a group of leaders) who make decisions, or who hold the Alpha position. Sometimes, there are spoken or unspoken rules, policies, or plans that serve to guide the interactions and activities of two or more people. And, these spoken or unspoken dynamics often represent a long-standing culture of “how we do things.”

Very often, “how we do things” becomes a theology – you know, those beliefs and theories that have been systematically developed, added to, changed, and then, changed again.

Holy Grail Reminder: everyone must abide by the theology (without change) in order to be deemed “right” in life!

But, what happens when a more sensible, wise, or proven way of “doing life” shines its truth-filled light into the dank silliness of worn-out theology? Now, let’s mess with some theology:

  • What should we do when we finally admit that focusing on who is “right” or “wrong” accomplishes very little toward reaching the desired outcomes?
  • What shall we say about the said theology when it becomes crystal clear that tagging people with the sashes of “right” or “wrong” splinters individual potential and severs teamwork?
  • Where do we go to report that the majority are silently thinking and feeling the utter frustration of the useless theology of “right” or “wrong” – even as it is grinding away at their productivity and fulfillment?
Images courtesy of
Images courtesy of

The Sandbox of Life

As most of us who have lived more than 3 years know:

  1. Tagging someone with the sash of “wrong” creates a whole other mess of dynamics, thus creating a drippy, stinky goop all over interpersonal communications and relationship longevity.

It’s difficult for everyone to get along in the sandbox when someone is wearing the ugly sash of “wrong.” This is because we all get tangled and tripped up by the sash.

  1. Alternatively, tagging someone with the sash of “right” can be highly subjective (and clearly incorrect at times), especially if truth and motives were revealed in the light of day.

Designating one person as King of the Monkey Bars did not work well in grade school because it made someone the target for The Great Fall! What makes us believe that it will work any better in Real Life School (interpersonally, speaking)?

[bctt tweet=”As human beings, we are deeply wired for connection with others.” username=”bizmastersglobal”]

This wiring inherently drives us to work together while desiring unity and fairness in the sandbox of life (whether that happens, or not).

So, as a grand alternative to focusing upon “The Who” of this “right” or “wrong” dilemma: what if we shifted the focus to “The What”, as in, “What is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’?”

When we move away from tagging people with sashes, thus moving toward identifying “The What” of the matter, this shift suddenly requires the use of a different basis for the determination of “right” or “wrong.”

In part, this single question regarding “The What” begs to reassess the mess of “how we do things.” On the other hand, the “What” question challenges the Holy Grailer’s reliance upon individual, situational opinions, feelings, or beliefs as the core basis in determining “right” or “wrong.”

If it is indeed time to address the Great Waster among us, what shall we base our “right” or “wrong” determinations upon?

Introducing Life Principles

Principles are all about fundamental truths that are based on facts and reality – not on individual, situational opinions, feelings, or beliefs. At their core, principles are:

  • The foundation for a system of beliefs, behaviors, and reasoning.
  • Stable because they do not change.
  • Trustworthy because they represent consistent ground rules.
  • Like gravity: they are unfailing in their consistency.

For this inquiry of shifting our focus to “The What”, let’s use the concepts of justice and righteousness as our life principle examples. Here we go:

Getting a sense of the right behavior or treatment toward others (justice) solely from the governmental court system can be quite frightening and deceiving.

Similarly, it can be even more frightening and deceiving to believe morally right or reasonable living (righteousness) is best displayed by those who proclaim the religious type of right living.

This is a great example of how so many people confuse the basis for determining “right” or “wrong” by not fully understanding the core equalizer between the two: Life Principles. Just because the court ruling proclaims, “Right!” doesn’t mean the action or outcome is in the best interest of the majority. Likewise, just because church people decree that breathing that air will send you to hell – well, “it ain’t necessarily gonna happen just like that!”

By using life principles, we can find some balanced and sensible agreement between the correct use and meanings of justice and righteousness. For instance, what are the actual outcomes upon the health and safety of the majority from that court ruling? And, what do the fruit of the behavior of the righteous ones reveal? In all, are the outcomes based on foundational, stable, trustworthy, and unfailing cores?

Herein lies the equalizing power of life principles: the outcomes are all of these qualities AND they are reproducible – over, and over, and over again. They do not change with the whims of people.

For these reasons life principles always support solid decision making, which produces consistent outcomes that can be trusted.

In other words, when we act based on principles of truth, we are standing upon something greater than our humanness – something that will consistently prove to be “right” or “wrong” – every time.

With this life approach, we are able to boldly proclaim that the outcomes (of a situation or relationship) are “right” or “wrong”, rather than a person (or a group of people) being deemed “right” or “wrong.” This shift focuses our attentions upon the outcomes, not the people! What deliverance! What joy! What empowerment!

Wrapping Up a Principled Life

Like kids on a playground, so many self-willed adults waste so much energy, time, and resources arguing about who is “right” or “wrong.” These dynamics reflect the places of brokenness in each of our thoughts, feelings, and interactions.

[bctt tweet=”Most of us are ultimately seeking the truth (facts and reality). ” username=”bizmastersglobal”]

But when truth collides with our brokenness, we still tend to want our way, and we want to be “right.” The reflection of having our way is to engage The Great Waster – for those efforts divert attention away from having to make a choice to change. It is always easier to dish out hell upon others by passing out sashes!

If influence is our relationship gold (that is highly valued, thus worthy to be preserved), what influential value remains after perpetually fighting over “The Who” instead of focusing on “The What” of this right or wrong matter?

In the end of it all, what if we governed our decisions and behavior based on principles of truth instead of on our opinions and self-will? How would this change “The Who” to “The What” is right or wrong? Indeed, where would each of us stand in matters of life, love, and relationships if we chose to change “The What” in our own mindset, attitude, and behavior? What would happen to all of the sashes – and the brokenness among us?

Copyright 2016, Devaney Rae, L.L.C. All Rights Reserved.

Parts of this article are excerpts from Devaney Rae’s book, Countless Joys: The Place Beyond Tears (Westbow Press, 2015). Available @

devaney book


Devaney Rae
Devaney Rae
Devaney’s professional background includes professional Business Development, Leadership, and Life on Purpose Coaching, along with Instructional Design Technology consulting for Training & Presentation Design. Devaney also provides professional consulting within Organizational/ Performance Management for business owners and decision-makers. Devaney also established Life On Purpose with Devaney Rae in early 2018 as a way to connect with others who want to Get From Where You Are Now To Where You Want to Be. This effort connects people with professional coaching and a variety of resources to establish business growth that includes learning to create and manage multiple streams of income. Devaney works one-on-one and in small groups with people to create their own Life Purpose Plan and to develop the correct Business Strategy for Growth. Then, she helps them bring the plan to life so each one can step into their ownMORE! She has enjoyed a successful career in Healthcare Administration, Chemical Manufacturing, Retail Sales, Marketing, and within the Non-Profit Business sectors. Devaney earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Walden University and her Master’s degree in Instructional Design Technology for Professional Trainers from New York Institute of Technology. She also earned a degree in Dental Hygiene with license to practice in Texas and Louisiana. Devaney is a published author of the book, Countless Joys: The Place Beyond Tears (Westbow Press, 2015). The content is her story about how ordinary people are called to do “the extraordinary” in life. She has a passion for impacting others with life-giving hope, joy, and peace. Devaney established a non-profit organization, Countless Joys, Inc. in 2015. The mission of Countless Joys, Inc. is to Touch the Lives of Others with Joy. The specific focus is on Interrupting Human Trafficking of children and teenagers. Altogether, giving back to others is Devaney’s personal life mission and joy. Devaney makes her home in Franklin, Tennessee.

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  1. Devaney Rae, in the realm of things in life, it certainly is a waste of time trying to prove an argument, or a point between who is right and who is wrong. As I have gotten older and through the years of trying to get to the bottom of a situation in dealing with people on the streets, both good and bad situations as a police officer, I had to learn from the beginning of the situation, in a matter of minutes who was right and who was wrong. I would walk away and think, what does it matter other than the simple fact, no one went to jail, and no one got hurt. What matters most now is what “God” thinks of me at this point. Great Article.

    • Thank you, Lynn, for joining the conversation. Your perspective is always so insightful. 🙂