ARE TRADITIONAL BELIEFS THE STANDARD?
There was once a man who operated a general store. On his counter top he had nailed a yardstick. He measured yard goods, rope, etc., by the yardstick. Eventually, the man died and his son moved back and took over the operation of the little store. One day, an employee of the Dept. of Weights and Measures came by, examined his "yardstick" and pronounced it a full inch less than a yard in length. All those years the gentleman had honestly thought that his measuring stick was accurate, but he was wrong. His honesty did not make him right.
Now the son was faced with a decision. He could refuse to admit his father was wrong and, therefore, be wrong himself or he could say, "My father honestly thought he was right. I know something my father did not know. If I do not live up to the knowledge I have I will not be as honest as he was." (No doubt, most people would make the second decision.)
Strange as it may seem, many reason differently in religion. Some learn the way of God more accurately than their parents. However, they refuse to make any changes because they fear any change from their parents' religion would cast upon the father and mother an unfavorable reflection.
Let us say that a man's God-fearing parents taught him to reverence the Bible. Yet they were misinformed on some vital points. His parents were honest. If they had understood the truth as he does, would they not have obeyed it? If he turns his back on recognized truth, is he as honest as they were?
The apostle Paul was one who had to make this decision. In Gal. 1:11-14, we find Paul's life before Christianity was one of a Jew, which his parents had taught him. He advanced greatly in that religion and was very zealous in teaching what he believed to be the truth. (He also had a good consicience about what he was doing at the time, JWS). But in Gal. 1:15-17, when Paul was taught that what he believed and practiced at that time was wrong, he changed and began to preach the truth.
Paul did not (as many do today) say, "My parents have been Jews all their lives, following the Jewish religion, and so have I, and I willl die a practicing Jew" or "If that is true, then that means my parents are lost." Just because we may have been something religiously at one time does not make that religion right and just because my parents believed and practiced a certain way about the Bible does not make it so. Paul was honest and sincere enough to change his life and live right. We need to constantly compare our beliefs and practices with what the Bible teaches. Are we honest as Paul was?
By Ron Fenner in Items, Vol. 17, No. 30, Sept. 7, 2003.
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