In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines. (Prov. 18:17)
Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees. Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors. (Psalm 119:23-24)
I used to work for a bank as a commercial teller. This is back in the day when online banking was still pretty fresh and more people wanted to actually come in and do their banking business in person. Commercial tellers were different than regular tellers in that they focused on taking care of all of the business banking clients… which meant significantly more volume of cash deposits and unusual requests. I would routinely average processing around $350,000 per day, just to give you an idea of the volume of money I regularly handled. One day a client came in to deposit several thousand dollars he acquired from the sale of a vehicle and I had to reject about $700 of it because it was counterfeit money. He had no idea and was understandably angry at having been swindled in this way.
You see, I understood money. I handled the real thing all day, every day. I was taught by the bank to identify counterfeit bills easily, not because I knew the techniques the counterfeiters use, but because I understood so well what the real money was supposed to look like. In this particular case, the counterfeiters had colour printed exact copies of hundred dollar bills onto computer paper and cut it out to be the same shape and size. The way I caught the fraud was because the feel of the paper was off. Computer paper is very smooth and not as heavy as real bills.
This principle is important because I believe that we are confronted with counterfeit principles and ideologies constantly within our society and it’s really easy to get sucked into them and believe them unless you really understand what is going on and what truth is. Truth is not always popular. Sometimes it goes against the prevalent and common pattern of thinking. A person trying to convince you of something may seem extremely plausible unless you really understand the subject inside out.
For instance, take the subject of economics. Most people in society don’t truly understand it very well (how an economy moves on a significantly large scale) and the people that are in charge of our economies are quite aware of that fact. So when they propose an action or policy, they make it sound good and beneficial, sometimes by inventing entire new words or terms. This is how printing money, thus diluting the buying power of every dollar, became the policy of “quantitative easing”. This is how spending loads of money you don’t have on various government projects became justified by “trickle down economics”, arguing that the spending would spur on economic growth. People don’t generally oppose policies they don’t understand, but sound promising.
This is important in a spiritual concept as well. I’ve just been reading of Jesus being tempted by the devil in Luke 4. Jesus was in the desert and hungry (he hadn’t eaten for 40 days), and Satan tempts Jesus 3 times. First, “the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.” (Luke 4:3-4) This is seemingly plausible. Jesus is hungry and He has the power to change it. Second, “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”” (Luke 4:5-7) Again, every word that the devil says is true. In fact, Satan knew that Jesus had come for this express purpose… he’s offering Jesus something that he knows Jesus wants. This is also an extremely plausible thing for Jesus to do. Third, Satan tempts Jesus to throw Himself off of the highest point of the temple and he quotes Scripture at Him about how the angels will save Jesus if He does. Think about it… Satan is trying to use the truth of the Scripture to get Jesus to commit suicide. Accordingly to this logic it is again, very plausible.
Despite these three exceedingly logical temptations, Jesus doesn’t go for it because He understands higher truth. He knows Satan is the enemy and His only desire is to rob, kill, and destroy. There is no good deal with the devil. Jesus goes on and satisfies His hunger in a proper way, He takes away all of the authority of the devil His own way via the cross, and He submits to God the Father rather than tests Him.
If we’re not careful, we’ll get sucked into ways of thinking that sound plausible, seem right, and look like they’ll get us what we want, but in reality just destroy us and others. If we stand up for the rights of one group while denigrating others, we’ve just become the very problem we’re trying to address. If we embrace subjective morality, then we’ll forever be at the whim of whatever moral is popular rather than what is right. We must instead understand deeply and intricately what truth is… what is right, what builds up rather than tears down, what is just, the design and purpose for why humanity was made. Only in this way can we reject any counterfeit that seeks to draw us away from our purpose to build life, love, peace, hope, and joy.
Let’s grow these virtues together and reject anything that opposes them.
If you want to talk about this or anything else related to truth, life, and spirituality, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-660-0860. This is just the start of the conversation. There’s a whole lifetime in front of us to explore these concepts together and figure how to work them out.