The world is full of information produced en masse by anyone anywhere and available to all. Being creatures of emotion, we often react before we know the truth. In 1985 the New York Mets signed a pitcher named Sid Fitch who could throw a 186 mile-per-hour fastball. In 1998 Alabama changed the value of pi to a more biblical 3.0. In 1986, the Eiffel tower was going to be dismantled and reconstructed in Euro Disney. In 2008 flying penguins were discovered. Of course all this information was released on April 1, and they were April fools jokes played on the public.
All these “facts” have something in common. They were believed by a great many people. It seems there is no end to gullibility. If it is published, or enough people repeat it, it must be true.
Years ago in Ambassador College a student gave a speech on how gullible Americans were. His speech was about J. Edgar Hoover. In the newspaper he had read how Hoover was a vacuum cleaner, and the FBI had a janitor named Edgar. So they created J. Edgar Hoover to clean up Washington and foisted him off on the public. The speech was given with passion in true sincerity.
Of course there really was a J. Edgar Hoover, and the story was a column by Art Buchwald, the comedic writer. The student was rather embarrassed since the “gullible” person was himself, displayed before a live audience.
Have we ever been embarrassed by making decisions or taking courses of action built on emotional responses to “created” facts? 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says to “prove all things, hold fast to that which is true.” Many people were led away in the first century. “I wrote unto the church, but Diotrephes, who loved to have the preeminence among them, receives us not” (3 John 9). The man must have had some pretty convincing words to take over a church and turn away an apostle appointed by Jesus.
How many people have gone down the road to division by people who have smitten them with “facts” designed to create an emotional response? Often it is given “on good authority” while refusing to state who the “authority” was. These anonymous facts, perhaps spread with all sincerity by those who believe them, are usually supplied by someone who has a selfish cause to be in charge or to have things done their way. Most often there is the cry of “unfair!”
Years ago a long-time evangelist was called on to cast out a demon. Before casting it out, he asked, “Why did you rebel against God’s perfect government?” The answer was, “Because God was unfair!”
Is God ever “unfair”? Often God creates situations where things appear, or may even be, “unfair.” This is the only way to find out if we truly have faith in Him to work it out, or will we take matters into our own hands. King Saul made this mistake when Samuel was “late” for the offering, so Saul did it himself (1 Samuel 13:10). Patience is a proof of faith.
Sadly far too many have fallen prey to this trick of Satan. The only way to survive is to not be caught up in emotion. To prove all things and have the patience to see if what you have been told is indeed fact or fiction. Foresight takes faith and time to see if it is fictitious. Hindsight is 20/20, but there is a price. Thankfully there is repentance if you already chose unwisely.