Anyone who knows me knows that I love genealogy. Some might even say that I’m obsessed with it. But, I don’t know, there’s just something about digging around in old records and history that is supremely satisfying to me. I love piecing together the lives of my ancestors, and each new discovery is not only exciting, but helps me better understand the lives of those upon whom my life is founded. As any genealogist worth her salt would tell you, however, there is a ‘golden rule’ to digging up the past, one that should be applied to every piece of information that’s dug up. No matter how small or large, this ‘rule’ has to be applied.
Check your facts.
I didn’t always do this. In the beginning, I am sad to say, I went on a tree building spree. I registered on several popular family tree sites, and when those little hints popped up I eagerly snapped them up and added them to my tree, without checking the facts. After some time passed I began to find that a lot of those family members that I had so quickly added to my tree were, in fact, not family members. I had failed to do the one thing that a good genealogist would do.
So I went back to the beginning and began checking my facts. I looked at census records and marriage certificates, I dug up old biographies and books, and after several weeks of careful tree repair (by repair, I mean, sorting out and removing the non-family members who should never have been added in the first place) my family tree, I am happy to say, is finally bearing the fruit of my labor. I can say with certainty that my family is my family, and I have no doubt who and where they belong.
As a Christian, I need to also apply this ‘rule’ to my life. In today’s society we are facing a ‘Bible drought’. It’s an epidemic, really, if you think about it. There are more misquotes from the Bible than you can shake a stick at. It seems that everyone has a different version of what the Bible says about life, and these beliefs are so deeply ingrained in their lives that it’s virtually impossible to separate truth from fiction.
The Bible is crucial to our Christian walk. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) It’s the one tangible way that God has chosen to communicate with us, and as a Christian, we should be intimately familiar with every word it contains (2 Tim. 2:15). But, I’m sad to say, there are a lot of Christians today who only pick the Bible up to carry it to church, sit it on the pew, carry it back to the house, and slide it back into it’s place of rest, without once opening it up and actually reading it. Which means that when someone comes along proclaiming a form of truth that sounds good to us (Matt. 24:24-25), that appeals to our emotions or feelings (2 Tim. 4:3), that supports our choices even if they are sinful (James 1:21), we won’t have the Biblical backbone to stand against it (Matt. 22:29).
It’s been said that Satan’s greatest weapon is man’s ignorance of God’s Word.
If we, as Christian’s, don’t even know what the Bible says, how can we expect to not only live a God-pleasing life, but how can we bring the Truth to the unbeliever? Reading God’s Word should be a priority in the Christian’s life, and when someone tells us that “God said this” or “God approves of that”, our first response should be to go back to the Bible and “check the facts“. Our lives depend on it.
Blessings, Kathy W