Are You Righting a Wrong or “Jumping the Gun”

Certain situations may bring out in us a sense of justice, but our own indignation to “right a wrong” can make things worse.

We have been analyzing a certain situation in which we have seen much injustice, of sorts, going on. Many people have been hurt by it. Technically, it is out of our hands and not particularly our responsibility. We are idea people and problem solvers by nature, used to taking charge and correcting situations to make them better. I came across a significant post online from a website of daily articles by one of my favorite authors from the past, Oswald Chambers. It was no coincidence to come across it today, and the words were so wise and apropos that I wanted to share them with you.

How many times have you stepped in to correct a situation just because you knew you had the ability to do so, but it either wasn’t the right time or you weren’t the person for the job?

I looked up some definitions on the phrase, “jumping the gun.” Of course, the origin of the phrase refers to someone starting a race before the shot went off, but the phrase now means:

  • to do something too soon, especially without thinking carefully about it
  • to do something before it should be done
  • begin something before preparations for it are complete
  • start doing something before the appropriate time

Oswald Chambers was writing about one of the greatest leaders of the Jews, Moses. Though, he was a Jew, he had been raised in Pharaoh’s household. After he became an adult, he saw the oppression of his people (Ex.2:11). He felt in his spirit that he was the one to do something about it, and you know what? He was right, but when he tried to do something about it, it appeared to ruin his life for the next 40 years.

Why would Moses acting on what he knew was his life’s purpose ruin his life for years? These are the points Chambers makes:

1. Even though Moses knew he was the person to act on behalf of his people’s oppression, “in the righteous indignation of his own spirit, he started to right their wrongs.” (1)

Acting out of righteous indignation will usually cause one to act without thinking and before the appropriate time, because the emotions are too strong to hear clear, wise, spiritual wisdom and direction. The result for Moses was leaving a life of ease in a palace for 40 years of discouragement, feeding sheep in the desert.

2. After 40 years of major personal growth in Moses’ life, God appeared to him and said “Bring my people out of Egypt (Ex.3:10)” Again, the purpose for his life that Moses had felt in his spirit was correct; Mr. Chambers points out, “he had to be trained and disciplined by God first. He was right in his individual perspective, but he was not the person for the work until he had learned true fellowship and oneness with God.” (1)

Even if you are the person to right a wrong or injustice, doing it when you are overwhelmed with righteous indignation is not the right time, for yourself or others. After the overwhelming emotions had past, after years of learning to be the person he needed to become, Moses was able to approach the situation in a disciplined, trained emotional state that would not react to threats or danger, that could steadily proceed with divine wisdom; he was ready for the job!

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3. You may a clear vision and understanding of what needs to be done to right a wrong, but if the outcome has an end result similar to that of Moses being in the desert for 40 years, more than likely, you are jumping the gun. Your personal growth in emotional stability and spiritual wisdom may need to go to a whole new level before the process can be complete. As Chambers says, you have not yet “learned to get into God’s stride.” (1)

If you are feeling discouraged about a wrong that needs to be righted, don’t jump the gun; let your personal growth come to its fullness so the results will change the course of people’s lives in far better and more lasting ways than acting before it’s complete!

1. Quotes from “My Utmost for His Highest,” by Oswald Chambers, October 13th article.

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