Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

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End the evil of those who are wicked, and defend the righteous. For you look deep within the mind and heart, O righteous God (Psalm 7:9, NLT)

Right and wrong are as opposite as night and day and are as contradictory as oil and water. Since they don’t mix, all of our mothers made sure to teach us this lesson: two wrongs don’t make a right, in sports and in life.  Going the wrong way, doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong words will invariably get you to the wrong place. To go right, you can’t do wrong. And you can’t go wrong when you’re committed to doing right. As Spike Lee taught us, we all need to “Do the Right Thing.” 

Two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s a proverb used to rebuke or renounce wrongful conduct as a response to another’s transgression.   Coach Jim Boeheim unfortunately taught us this lesson once again. Syracuse had the ball, down 60-58 when star forward CJ Fair drove for an apparent tying layup. But official Tony Greene whistled Fair for charging — and Boeheim shot onto the court to argue. Greene slapped him with two technical fouls and ejected him. “I thought it was a block or a no-call,” Fair said. “I don’t think there was that much contact, either.” No contact? Not really, but the point was the refs call.

Right is always waiting for the opportunity to overcome wrong. And Coach Boeheim missed his latest opportunity. With 10.4 seconds left on the clock, and with Duke leading Syracuse 60-58, one of college basketball’s best games of the season ended with the Hall of Fame coach being ejected after he charged onto the court to argue a block/charge call.

And Coach Boeheim didn’t just charge onto the court, he “went off,” yelling and screaming and cursing and flaying his arms in protest. “I just thought that was the worst call of the year, that’s all,” Boeheim said. “I hated to see the game decided on that call.” Honestly, the call could have gone either way. At worst it was a bad call, at best it should have been a no-call.  But it was called, for better or for worse.

Right or wrong, we’ve all been taught not to argue with the refs, and not to react to a bad call. Just play the game.  With 10.4 seconds left, Syracuse could have played defense, or fouled a Duke player, in order to extend the game. Instead, Duke was awarded four foul shots. Duke made three of them and had possession of the ball. AND your coach was ejected. Game Over. The wrong reaction of Coach Boeheim allowed Duke to go right to the winners circle. Thanks coach.

Wrong is just that; it’s wrong. It can never amount to right, unless God works something out. And Joseph taught us this lesson. When he was wronged by his older, jealous brothers, he held his peace and did not retaliate. In the end, in the providence of God, the Sovereign Lord worked things out for good.  God can’t make evil good, but He can bring good out of evil.  To use Joseph’s words, “As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20-21, RSV).

So don’t allow wrong to win the day. Don’t allow your emotions to get the best of you. Don’t melt down when you need to firm up. The problem of evil will not be overcome with more evil. Martin Luther King taught us that “those who assert that evil means can lead to good ends are deceiving themselves.” Amen. 

So remember, people will do you wrong, refs will make bad calls, and you will make mistakes yourself. Evil and wrong are with us, for now. But one day, God will put an end to all evil and to all wrong. The crooked will be made straight and the rough places will be made plain. So determine to overcome evil with good. Because two wrongs will never make a right.

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