There’s something about egos that leave a person blown away, impressed, and others downright annoyed. The slightest notion of superiority can get our blood boiling. The polarizing expression of a bold belief does conjure mixed emotions. That’s a given. But here’s the rub, are bold beliefs dismissible if you don’t like the messenger?
Christians, and anyone with common decency, won’t defame a person out of hand. It’s simply not polite. But what if you know something about this person; their quirks, outlook on life, or the dreaded duo of the politics and religion of an individual. Do these things warrant anything at all, a reaction, or rather a presumption?
Here’s two tips: First, let the facts lead. Second, let the facts stand.
The fact may be that your intuition is correct, but it could be that the facts revealed something far more than what you thought you knew. What am I saying, if a stranger in a ski mask tells you his white van has no windows it’s to keep the air from escaping, you should hop in first. No! Chances are the air escaping isn’t his concern. Discerning truth is a cautious endeavor, so practice caution. Don’t be too hasty but wasting time isn’t a virtue either.
Take the clickbait worthy title, “I’m Better Than You.” Well, am I? How would you know? Is that a good question? Why should you care? It’s important to ask questions, they hopefully will lead to a conclusive end. One might add, “Better at what?” Now we’re getting somewhere. A “better than you” person might conceal it well in suave or humbleness, he might tell all of his superiority. He could be right or hide that he is an imposter (or sadly not know which is true). The illustration stands to give us warning that *shocker* not every person is what they seem. There are Jacks out there who know their stuff, others are Jacks of all trades and experts in none. Others, just a Jack with nothing to offer but smoke and mirrors.
To allow facts to stand, is an imperative investigative measure, taken to explore with depth the implications of a claim. To put it bluntly, a Joel Osteen character might assert that his view of the supernatural is one of many good roads to god. Or, let’s say, a Jehovah Witness rings your bell and tells you everything you know about Jesus is wrong. Both will present their case to you, one in grinning confidence and the other authoritatively from their special translation of the Bible. Who’s to say they are wrong? They seem professionals at what they are
Notice that handling the assertion of a Jack (or Jill) comes at the price of verification. The process of fact finding is to remove the veneer of distraction and be about the practice of extraction. The ugly truth about false religions, cultic practices, and yes even the common person (and even the common politician) is that lies are best told with a thread of truth.
Be weary of the hook that dangles. The fish finds the worm appetizing, and so it is! But the hook, line, and sinker betrays the fish and reels him in to be dinner. He would have been better off denying his passions, the desire to eat. Doing so would have saved his skin, hide, uh scales. Yes, scales. The point is this: the one who gives facts credence survives. Well kinda.
This leads to my final point. Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (Jn 8:31b-32).” But does it though? Absolutely yes, and sometimes no, “except after c” or something like that. Yes, believing in Christ will set you free, will uncover that all else is false and the cross and resurrection are everything! And it is also no, according to the way of the world. The world doesn’t want you free in Christ, a redeemed child of God. The world will seek to crush you now that you believe contrary to the narrative of self improvement and brain wash lies. The fact of faith is repulsive to the world, it will do everything to bring you back to the fold of unbelief. The all inclusive world and transcendent “Universe,” a nothing god and everything giver actually hates you. His name is Satan, and he will give you exactly what will keep you away from truth. That might be persistent unbelief and desperation or joy in the earthly pleasures of life that are meaningless to him and a stumbling block to faith in Christ. The messenger who speaks the truth isn’t always the most appealing according to our desires, but I assure you the most appealing things will never satisfy you. I know this because the human condition seeks to fill the spiritual gap with meditation, medication, mind, and money. Jesus doesn’t offer you sensationalized religion. He doesn’t advocate the abuse of medicine, a good gift too often resulting in crippling addiction. God doesn’t make the mind or reason the strength of faith but gives faith that the mind and reason would serve faith. He doesn’t promise wealth, riches in this world, but a reward of eternal life won and delivered to you in Christ.
Am I better than you? No, instead, follow the One Lord great over all people. Put biblically, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him (1 Kings 18:21).” “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised…(Psalm 145:3).”