Monday, July 3, 2017

How Annabelle Became Andy and the Importance of Truth


When my niece, Katie, arrived at dusk with my new pig in a crate, we hauled the crate to the stall and opened the door. New Pig was a little hesitant about the strange surroundings and refused to come out without encouragement. We cajoled and made promises of nice piggy-treats to come. No movement. Finally, we tilted the crate over and forced her out. 

"She's gonna be so happy here," Katie assured me.

"I love this spotted pig already," I announced. "I'm naming her Annabelle." We all agreed it was a great name. We checked the newly-made automatic waterer and feeder and headed back to the house. 

Katie has dealt with farm animals all her life. I assumed she'd checked the gender, so I didn't. She hadn't. 

Annabelle had been here for nearly forty-eight hours when an observant friend said words I didn't want to hear. "I hate to tell you this, but Annabelle's not female."

I looked at Katie. "I thought you said this pig was a girl."

She shrugged. "You're a doctor. Can't you tell?"

I hadn't even bothered  to look. I had assumed that what Katie said about the pig was true.

There are many directions I could go with this, but I'm skipping the obvious and considering the importance of checking facts for ourselves. I believed what was said about the pig. I never once considered verifying what I'd heard.  

For two days, I responded on the basis of the faulty information I believed. It didn't make any difference to the pig, of course. When we embrace faulty information about our fellow humans, however, it can make a bigger difference than we intend.

Rumors can spread like wildfire, taking a few twists along the way. By the time the rumor reaches our ears, what we hear can be so far from truth as to be laughable. 

When we respond on the basis of rumors and innuendo, we risk marking someone with the paintbrush of lies, some of which are worse than indelible ink. The stain they leave behind lasts for years.

What's even worse is to believe false rumors about God. "God wants us to be happy." "He wants us to prosper." "Name it and claim it and it will be yours." "God loves you too much to allow you to be unhappy." Those words all sound good, but they aren't true. We need look no further than the life of Jesus to be sure.

God wants us to be content, holy, righteous. He won't waste suffering, but will use it to make us more like Him. These truths, straight from Scripture, paint a vastly different picture of God and the disciple-life than does the prosperity gospel.

We serve a God who loves us and helps us through the mess sin has made of the world. That's our truth.

Annabelle isn't female. That changes his future, and mine, in ways we'll discuss later. 

Truth will do that. It sets us free, but only if we know it and we let it.

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32 niv 
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