This Chinese proverb came my way today: “An error the width of a hair can lead one a thousand miles astray.” Its wisdom is irrefutable, and it applies to every aspect of our lives.
Now switch mental gears for a moment. For the past two days, I’ve been reading in 2 and 3 John and repeatedly bumping into the word truth:
- God’s truth lives in us and will be in our hearts forever (2 John 1:2).
- God’s grace, mercy, and peace are with those who live in truth and love (2 John 1:3).
- Our heavenly Father commands us to live in the truth (2 John 1:4).
- John wrote that his greatest joy came from knowing his spiritual children were living in the truth (3 John 1:4).
Holding fast to God’s Word as the Truth is critical to our well-being. If we deviate from it and follow our emotions instead, we end up headed down the wrong path. Here are some examples:
* The Truth says believers are not to yoke themselves to unbelievers. A particular Christian woman knows this, but she marries an unbeliever because she doesn’t like the possibility of remaining single for the rest of her life. Several months later she realizes her error, but now it’s too late. Her husband shares none of her interest in spiritual things and she’s never felt so lonely.
* The Truth says to run from temptation, right? An unhappy wife knows this but finds herself emotionally and physically attracted to a coworker. She meets him for lunch a few times, convinced there’s no harm in doing so. One thing leads to another. Before long they’re engaged in a full-blown affair and her marriage is seriously in jeopardy. She never thought their “innocent flirting” would take them down this path.
* The Truth says not to engage in sex before marriage. A teenager disregards the rule and starts having sex with guys from her high school at age 15. By the time she’s 20, she’s had two abortions and has contracted an STD. She struggles with nightmares and the sense that guys pay attention to her only because she’s a warm body, not because she’s a woman of worth.
* The Truth says not to lie, but this is easier said than done for the wife who can’t control her impulsive spending habits. At first she feels guilty about being dishonest with her husband, but her conscience eases up after doing it a few times.
None of these women intended to land where they did, but an error the width of a hair led them a thousand miles astray. If we want to avoid making the same mistakes or traveling down a different road that leads to a sorry end, we need to live in God’s truth. That’s where we’ll experience His grace, mercy, and peace. And that’s where we’ll find joy.
Society (and even well-meaning but immature Christians) will try to tell us otherwise, but let’s stand firm. Let’s remain true to the Truth and avoid making errors that will lead us astray from God’s purpose for our lives.
What are your thoughts about this Chinese proverb?