Monday, October 13, 2014

The Good, the Bad, and the Truth

"And the king said, He is a good man, and cometh with good tidings." (2 Sam. 18:27)

       But as it turned out, King David was wrong. The news coming up the road to him was not going to be what he was going to consider good. It was good that the army fighting against him had been defeated; but the message that his son had been killed in the melee was not a message any parent would want to hear. It’s the implication of David’s overly optimistic words that I want to zero in on, however: “He is a good man, and cometh with good news.”

        You see, we, like David, are tempted to assume that because someone is good, what he or she says will always be good. But, in reality, sometimes “good” men bring bad news; and sometimes “bad” men bring good news. The terms “good” and “bad” are not used in their strictest sense here, but here’s what I mean by my assertion: When we know someone—preacher, teacher, friend, etc., and they truly are good (or as good as sinful man can be), we are apt to attribute more credence to what he or she says, simply because we know, or think we know, they have our best interest at heart. Yet there are those among them who may cherish our friendship and admiration so much that they would hesitate to tell us the truth. And, of course, they could just be mistaken. One way or the other, sincerity does not guarantee truth.

By the same token, there are those who, for one reason or another, make us skeptical of what they say. They may have an abundance of faults; we may feel they harbor a real or perceived prejudice against us; or they may just have less than appealing communication skills. Whatever it is, you and I may want to reject anything they say straightaway, forgetting that God can use any means He chooses to enlighten us—even if it’s a jackass (Num.22)! I say this not to make us suspicious of the “good man,” but to keep us from dismissing out of hand the “bad man.”

        If so-called “good” men always brought good news, and so-called “bad” men always brought bad news, we wouldn’t have to be very discerning, would we? Instead of truth-seekers, we could just be “good-man-seekers.” But, obviously, that’s not always the way it works. Therefore, we should learn to accept truth for what it is–however, and by whomever, it may come to us.

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