Gullible Christians

It happened a long time ago. A female member of our church called me to discuss another member of the church. She said that the other sister showed signs of mental illness and that she was going to help. Her concern was touching and I thanked her profusely, saying that if there was anything I could do to help to let me know. Later, I happened to talk to the woman with the alleged mental problem. I very cautiously asked her how she was doing. In the course of conversation I realized that she was perfectly healthy. I was also able to guess why she could have seemed to have mental problems, but there were good reasons for her behavior. At that moment I realized how gullible I was. The accused was living an exemplary life, helping and serving people around her. If I had compared the lives of two sisters, I would not even hear the accusation.

Some Christians are gullible. I’ve seen cases of long-term friendships being shattered when people paid attention to false accusations made by individuals they did not know well. Pastors have left churches because their congregations believed in unfounded rumors. In other to avoid falling into a trap of gullibility, I suggest the following.

First, always hear the both sides of a story. Do not make judgments based on only one side.

Second, when stories contradict, trust the person respected by others. I’ve seen several cases where people believed the accusations of people whose character had yet to be proved, against those who lived exemplary lives, wreaking havoc.

Third, stop the accuser from making continued negative remarks in your presence. Even if you do not agree, repetition makes you feel negatively towards the accused.

Fourth, if someone is falsely accused, defend that person aggressively.

I know of a man who was wrongly accused for misusing the official funds of a non-profit organization he was working for. The head of the organization knew that he was blameless but kept quiet and did not defend him because he felt that doing so would break his neutrality. The accused man said that he felt more resentment towards this person than for all his accusers combined. He was still struggling with this sense of betrayal until the day he died.

Keeping silent when someone is wrongly accused can be as harmful as being on the side of the accusers.

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