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How do you react when your belief turns out to be wrong? When in the face of overwhelming evidence, do you change your belief or do you ignore the evidence?
In the first church I served, we had a wonderful elderly woman by the name of Ms. Cricket. Ms. Cricket was unlike any other elderly church-going woman I had ever met. She was in her mid 80s, still plowed her own fields, still drank her own homemade moonshine and still had a house full of birds that she spoke with.
One thing that Ms. Cricket never lacked was her share of opinions. And she loved to let you hear them whether you wanted to or not. Ms. Cricket had lost her husband many years prior and when another woman in our church who had also been widowed started dating again, Ms. Cricket let her and everyone else know that it was wrong and that God did not approve.
Later when I visited Ms. Cricket at her house, I took out my Bible and I showed her the verse from 1 Timothy 5:14 where Paul advises young widows to remarry. You should have seen the look on Ms. Cricket’s face. She was mad, and guess who she was mad at? Me! (Having an elderly woman who can drink moonshine, talk to birds and is strong enough to plow her own fields mad at you, can make even Superman’s knees tremble.) She looked me dead in the eye and said, “Preacher, I don’t care what it says. It is wrong and the good Lord knows it is wrong.” What do you say to that?
I see that happening so many times with so many people. Why was it that religious leaders would not hear the good news of Jesus? Jesus simply says it was because they had no room for it. They would not hear it, because their minds were already made up and no amount of truth was going to change that. Pride can lead to stubbornness, and stubbornness can lead to destruction. Listen to the evidence around you and be careful that you do not close your mind to what God is doing.
(The scripture reference was John 8:36-38. Barry Robinson is the pastor of the Williamstown United Methodist Church, 206 Paris Street in Williamstown. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)