Why Are We Quick To Believe A Lie?
Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 1 Corinthians 13:6
When you learn that your bitterest enemy has really “gotten it in the neck,” how do you feel? Do you quietly—or perhaps not so quietly—rejoice? “Good!” you think, “Got just what he deserved! I never liked that person anyway.”
Our natural reaction is the very opposite of that which God wants us to develop. In the greatest passage ever written about love, Paul gives us some words of advice—tough ones too! They grate against our nature like sandpaper on a glass tabletop, or like a chicken bone that turns sideways when you try to swallow it. He says simply that “love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth” (I Corinthians 13:6).
When we learn to love as God wants us to, we are saddened when a person falls in a moment of weakness. The old King James text puts it, “Love rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth.” Ken Taylor’s Living Bible says, “It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out.” In case you doubt the fact that man has a carnal nature, ask yourself why we are quicker to believe a lie than we are the truth. If you don’t believe that, listen to the incident I am about to relate, which is absolutely factual.
A staff member of a certain church became jealous and resentful of the senior pastor and decided that he would “get him.” He thought of various ways that he could take revenge for the wrongs that he felt he had sustained. He borrowed the church’s general mailing list and wrote a letter, accusing the pastor of sexual indiscretion with one of the secretaries—something which was totally untrue.
Shortly thereafter, the disgruntled associate admitted that the moral charge was entirely fabricated and that the letter had been designed to settle the score for alleged personal differences. The church council promptly met and exonerated the senior pastor…and fired the associate who had chosen character assassination as the weapon of warfare. The issue was finished, right? Wrong.
The rumor quickly spread. “Have you heard about so and so?” people asked. When his name came up in conversation people whispered, “This was the man who…” others commented, “They said he didn’t do it, but I’m not sure. I never liked that guy.” The deadly damage had irretrievably been done. Character assassination was what some called it, but in reality, it was a pack of lies. In spite of the man’s innocence, his ministry was hurt so badly by the rumor and malicious charges that he quietly resigned and accepted an appointment to a church in another city.
When someone says, “Have you heard about so and so?” I have made it a practice to ask, “Do you know this for a fact or is this something you have just heard?” Usually, it is the latter, and then I add, “When you are uncertain of what you are saying, you are merely passing on a rumor or gossip.”
My daughter Bonnie says, “Christians don’t gossip; they just share prayer requests.” Right! The spirit of love asks three tough questions before it passes on issues involving character: 1. Is it needful? 2. Is it kind? 3. Is it true?
Yes, I know that checking what we say, even when sadly enough it is true, isn’t done very often, but then again what Paul urged us to do isn’t very widely practiced today either.
May God help us to learn to rejoice in truth and be saddened when someone stumbles and falls. May God also grant that those who are unsteady never stumble and fall because our feet were in the way.
Resource Reading: Ephesians 4:1-16