Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Sincere But Sincerely Wrong

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkens unto counsel is wise.

       In 1988 my young family and I were living in the town of Margate, Queensland, Australia. I went to the local branch of my bank to exchange some Australian money for some Canadian cash as I had done at this branch on other occasions. The new teller looked at me as if I was odd when she said with a clear and resounding voice, " Canada does not have a currency because they use the US dollar in Canada." She said, "You will have to buy US dollars." 
      At first I thought she was joking but found out that she was sincere. With a louder voice she proclaimed that I was wrong in thinking that Canada had its own currency. With patience I explained that the picture of the queen was on the Canadian one dollar note, the two and twenty dollar bill with the word CANADA across the top part of the bill. I also explained that in the past I had exchanged these notes in the very branch I was in. She started to get politely angry with me for arguing with her and exclaimed that I was mistaken. 
      I noticed the manager of the branch walking by so I called him to draw his attention. He came over and asked what the problem was and the teller abruptly chimed in with a loud condescending explanation saying, "This man wants to buy Canadian cash but as I told him there is no such thing so he has to buy US dollars." The manager looked at her with a questioning look and asked her to go help someone in the back. He got the Canadian cash for me that I was asking for and apologized for the misunderstanding. I do not know what happened with the manager-teller talk afterward, but as I walked out of the branch I realized that the teller was sincere but sincerely wrong. 
      There is nothing wrong with being wrong or sincerely wrong since that is how we often learn what is right. We mess up and then learn the lesson and we are better for it. However, to insist on being wrong and remaining that way after the truth has been clearly revealed is the action of a fool or a gainsayer. Psalm 14:1a The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." 

      Unless you are a lawyer for big tobacco, pharmacy or agriculture, insisting on being wrong is just plain dumb. Isa. 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. 
     The apostle Paul was a sincere and dedicated Pharisee. He was zealous for the things of God. Phil. 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel,of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. Paul thought by persecuting the Christians he was doing God a favor. He was sincere but totally sincerely wrong. After his encounter with the Lord Jesus on his way to Damascus, the apostle Paul learns the lesson and the error he was living in. He then changed his life to follow Christ, His Lord. Phil. 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 

      When we think about how the law and all that came with being a Pharisee was ingrained in Paul's heart and life, we see clearly that Paul was no fool. Once he knew the truth of the fact that Jesus was his Lord and Savior, Paul saw that he had messed-up in what he believed and repented immediately and moved forward. 
      Phil. 3:8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ. Thank God Paul saw he had been sincerely wrong and needed to change his view of God. He then went on to be an apostle of apostles, plus by the leading of the Holy Spirit write a large portion of the New Testament.
      What have we been sincerely wrong about but have continued to foolishly argue or fight for the right to be so? What do you know in your heart of hearts you are doing that is not right but for the sake of being right you maintain your stances and bluster? Time to give it up and let the Spirit of truth lead and guide you to being sincerely right. Jesus is Lord and that is where it starts. John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 

      Let us turn our foolish hearts over to Christ that we may be righteous rather than just right about something. Let us use our faith to grow in the knowledge of God so that we may be a pleasure to God. Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Let us be sincere about our walk of faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus. Amen!