Just Because It’s Working, Doesn’t Mean It’s Right
My blog post is a day late this week because I was preoccupied with a more pressing issue. On Sunday around midnight, the AGIF website stopped working after an automated system upgrade. I spent several hours on the phone with various technical support people and I kept pressing the point that this situation was their fault because everything was working fine before the upgrade and now it was broken. There was no clear indication of what the problem was and it took many hours of diagnosis on my part before I discovered the problem.
I will spare you most of the technical details, but I finally determined that the problem was in a configuration file that contained errors all along. The previous server environment ignored these errors and they went undetected, but nevertheless the errors were there the whole time. I eventually was able to identify the errors and fix them by noon on Wednesday. So in order to salvage something from my 2 ½ days of frustration I decided to share with you a spiritual application because even when things seem to be working, it does not necessarily mean that they are right.
People do many things in life that seem to work for a while in part because they are being compared with a very low standard. We limp along, thinking that we are doing all right because we only compare ourselves with others who are doing exactly the same thing in getting the same results until someone or something comes along to demonstrate a higher standard. There is danger when we compare ourselves with each other. “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV) It is easy to be deceived into thinking that all is well when we make comparisons, but eventually something will come along that will expose the inadequacy and then we must overcome our pride if the situation is to be remedied.
The longer we continue believing that all is well simply because it seems to be working (the errors in the configuration file on the website went undetected for more than 3 years) the more difficult it will be for us to acknowledge the shortcoming and take the steps necessary to fix the problem. “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” Romans 12:3 (NLT)
Eventually the shortcomings will be exposed and then we will be faced with the dilemma of whether or not we simply give up in failure or go back and fix what is wrong in order to move forward. It may seem unnecessary when things are going well, but we would do well to remember that just because something seems to be working for us, it is not necessarily correct. The website problem could have been avoided if I had taken the time to validate the configuration rather than be satisfied that it seemed to be working. I’m sure that each of us can think of many applications for this lesson.