The Cookie Thief
As a woman was waiting for her flight at the airport, she bought a book and a bag of cookies to pass the time. As she was engrossed in her book, she noticed a man take a cookie from her bag of cookies that was sitting on the table in between them. This, of course, made her furious. As she took a cookie, he too took a cookie. This went on until only one cookie was left. Now, she wondered, what would this cookie thief do? With a smile on his face and a nervous laugh, he took the last cookie and broke it in half. He offered her one half and ate the other. She snatched the cookie from this rude man and fumed about his audacity.
When her flight was called, she indignantly got up and boarded her plane. She didn’t even look back at this thieving ingrate. As she sank down on her seat, she reached into her bag to pull out her book. Gasping with surprise, she pulled out her bag of cookies. As it turned out, she was the cookie thief.
How many times in our lives have we been absolutely certain about something only to discover later we were incorrect? Many of our beliefs are not based on the whole picture, but rather are based on pieces of information. Instead of researching an issue and deriving a logical conclusion, we see some "facts" and jump to a conclusion. We assume certain things are true and build our belief system on these assumptions.
Unfortunately, I think many people have made this same mistake with the teachings of the Bible. They assume it teaches certain things that it actually doesn’t. Sometimes these assumptions are based on things we have heard from our parents or things we have read in a book. Sometimes these beliefs are based on a few isolated verses we have read.
I believe we should carefully investigate all of the important doctrines of the Bible. Salvation, of course, is the most important doctrine. You need to ask yourself if you are basing your salvation on what the Bible teaches or on church tradition? The next doctrine you should look at is the nature of God and what He expects of us. You can save yourself a great deal of heartache if you simply understand how God deals with our failures. You will never be able to develop a life of stability and victory until you understand how God deals with our failures. The final thing you should examine is how God will deal with the lost. Many Christians are assuming certain things about the "heathen" that are not in the Bible.
We should never simply assume that something is the way it appears on the surface. It is important to always check out the facts. Even people who are "professionals" can make some costly assumptions. 20/20 (August 28, 1998) did an interesting story that illustrates this point.
The story they ran was about a man who was serving a life sentence for robbery and murder. Although he wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger, state law required him to be charged with first-degree murder. He had been in prison for about 15 years when the press caught wind of his military history. This man was a real hero. He fought in some of the worst battles in Vietnam and received multiple medals for his heroism.
Besides being a hero, he was also a victim. To help him deal with the unbelievable horrors he experienced, he turned to drugs. Like many soldiers over there, he became addicted to drugs. The press hammered away at how society was partially responsible for the misconduct of this American hero. 60 Minutes ran three different shows on him. As a result of all of this publicity, the governor commuted his sentence. This victim of society was now a free man.
There was only one small problem: He was never in Vietnam. His military career consisted of being a supply clerk until he went AWOL. No one, including the professional journalists, bothered to check out his story. They had just assumed the military records he provided them were correct. No one took the simple steps of asking the military for a copy of his record.
The point I’m trying to make is we should never assume what someone is telling you is correct. Always check out the facts. Even material presented in this book should not be accepted at face value. Take the time to study the subjects yourself. If professional journalists have made such major blunders, you can be sure that "strong mature" Christians will make their share of profound mistakes.
The above story is based on Valerie Cox's story; The Cookie Thief.
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