By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

Right now, in at least the two counties around me, people widely believe women are being sex-trafficked out of busy parking lots in broad daylight with drugs being sprinkled on everything from $20 bills to green tomatoes lying on the ground in a parking lot median. Yet no one has been abducted.

Meanwhile, people constantly scoff at the warnings of the dangers that bears pose with populations at all-time highs. The animals are becoming fearless of people who, locals and tourists both, continue to feed them or leave insecure garbage for them to get into. While there are no reports of women actually being hauled unconscious out of their vehicles after they crash their car from the drugs they absorbed through their skin, there are 11 bears that have been euthanized this year so far because of close encounters with people the included “scratches.” If you’ve seen the size of bear claws, these scratches required emergency room care.

We pick and choose what we want to believe is true but with the amount of false information that spreads online constantly, like a new trend of posting missing children that aren’t really missing, it takes more work than people are willing to put into checking if something is real. Instead, they just share it and now people are literally afraid of green tomatoes on the ground but are not afraid to try to pet a bear.

For Christians, many of us treat the Bible the same way. We aren’t afraid of the consequences of not repenting of our sin and putting our trust in Jesus, but we’re afraid of missing out on the wealth and prosperity we falsely think is ours if we have enough ‘faith’. We aren’t willing to put the time into reading scripture for ourselves or following teachers we know we can trust to help us know what is true. Instead, far too many of us spread false ideas about we think is in the Bible. We are willing to put people’s entire eternities at risk if they should die before they’ve found a saving faith in Jesus. Around here, that could literally be from trying to pet a black bear because no one told them it was dangerous, just like no one told them the truth about Jesus or what’s really in God’s word about salvation.

James 1:23-24 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

James takes this one step further.

He’s telling us that when we do hear the truth about God’s word, we need to take it seriously and live it out. To not do what we know God wants us to do, is as dumb as forgetting what we look like right after seeing our own reflection. But in order to do what God wants us to do, we have to know what is right and true from scripture, not just what we want to hear or what sounds good coming from others.

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