What we believe about anything affects how we act. If a person believes that the boss is out to get them then everything the boss says or ask from them becomes an attack or an effort to catch them in some error. In marriage if we believe our partner is trying to find a good excuse to leave, it is amazing how we react to everything that comes up. We are ready to attack them over nothing and we see something suspicious in their every action. In trying to help two people solve their disagreements it is easy to become the enemy of both and do no real good for either. I’ve often thought of the statement made in Luke 23:12 about Pilate and Herod becoming friends even though they had been enemies. Pilate had the Jews to bring Jesus to him first desiring that he give permission for Jesus to be crucified. When he learned that Jesus was from Herod’s area or rule he sent him over to Herod. Herod was pleased to have him sent to him. He was hoping to see Jesus perform some kind of miracle. But his hopes were futile since Jesus wouldn’t talk to him or do anything miraculous. But because Pilate would let Herod into the whole trial of Jesus, they became friends. I’m not sure where the quote originated but it does seem to be true, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Friendships can start in some strange ways, but it is amazing to think of them being built around who we don’t like.
I was listening to the radio this morning as I came to the office. A talk radio program was on and they were discussing the presidential election. People were calling in giving their opinions on the different candidates and how they had performed in the debates. One would call in talking about what a great job the president did and how he deserved to be given four more years to get his work done. The very next caller would be someone who felt the president was a communist and if we didn’t get him out of the White House soon the whole country was headed down the drain. When he talked about the challenger it was with glowing terms of what he believed and things he would do. The next caller said that he was a Libertarian and that neither of the main candidates were worthy of our support. With either one he said you are just settling with someone you consider the lesser of two evils. All three of the callers spoke with passion indicating they not only believed what they were saying but they felt strongly about the whole topic.
Here is what I know. They can’t all be right. They may all be wrong or there may be one who is right and the other two are wrong. But you can’t hold opposite views on an objective point and both be right. In the words of Aristotle, “Truth is truth” or “A is A.” Aristotle’s point seems to be the opposite of Bill Clinton’s statement when being questioned about his sexual exploits with Monica Lewinsky. You remember Bill’s response was that it depended what on what “Is” is. He wanted a definition, I suppose of the word “is.”
How do you decide what is true and what isn’t true? It is said that more and more of us determine what we believe or who we believe on anything by what we read on the internet. There was a time when most people got their information from the Newspaper, then from the radio and then from the television, especially the news programs. But all of those sources are losing their influence. Fewer and fewer people read the papers and fewer and fewer watch the network news programs. Even the ones who watch TV for the news, tend to watch cable channels that are dedicated to the news. I suspect that part of the reason people watch the different channels they watch is because these cable channels tend to be more honest in telling us what their belief system is and what vantage point they will take in giving us the news. Most people feel like the network news programs report from a distinct vantage point, usually far to the left or on the liberal wing, while pretending to the people that they have no vantage point but are just reporting the news. By the way, if you still believe the network news programs are just reporting the news and aren’t trying to get across an idea or view of the news, I’ve got some swamp land I’d like to sell you. It isn’t bad for one to tell what they do from a particular vantage point. It is just honest to tell everyone what your vantage point is.
All of us are prejudice, but on different subjects. It is natural for us to see things from our point of view. So how then is a person to determine what is really true and to be depended on? It can’t be just that it was in writing because there are people with very weird imaginations who write things down. All of us tend to see the things that fit what we want to see or what we already believe. Never allow one person to tell you what another person believes without taking the time and effort to check out for yourself what the other person believes. Just think of the presidential debates and the times one candidate would tell us what the other one believed only to have the other one say, “That’s not what I believe” and then explain that they believe the very opposite of what was said. Are they just lying about it all? I don’t know that that is the case. I think we gather our beliefs and then look for ways to corroborate them.
Remember, truth is consistent. If I tell the truth it will still be the truth tomorrow or in a different circumstance as well. Truth matters in all things. Believing a lie can lead to my complete ruin. It also leads to doing all kinds of foolish things in life. One of the callers on that talk show this morning declared that those of us in the south would likely vote for Mr. Romney because we were all racist and it was because Mr. Obama is black that people are opposed to him. I’m sure she believed what she was saying. I’m equally sure that such a statement arises because the one making it is the most racist of all. Most of us don’t care a lick what race a man is but are very concerned about their beliefs and stands on morals, religion and the constitution of the country.