My twin brother and I were the youngest in a family of five children.
The oldest, Jay and Lee, were looked up to, respected, obeyed, and believed.
Jay and Lee—who were probably about 11 and twelve at the time— came up with some pretty hair-brained schemes, which we littler ones readily fell right into.
One hot summer night, Jay told us that we would sneak out of the house about midnight. Why? we wee ones asked.
Because it’s what we’re gonna do, see?
Okay. That was a good enough explanation for us.
So at midnight, all five of us wrapped ourselves in our bathrobes and snuck out of the house.
Now what? we asked the Big Kahuna.
Now? He repeated. Uh…now we run around the block and do it as quietly as possible.
But, I asked—always the “what if ” kid—what if a car drives by, and they see us, and they chase us or call the police?
Second oldest, and the “big explainer” said: then we drop to the ground and roll up into a ball and anyone who drives by and sees us will just think we’re big rocks.
Okay, said us three little, dumb kids.
So we took off, running barefoot, our little feet going “slap, slap, slap” on the cool sidewalk.
A car’s headlights came around the corner. Uh oh!
Jay and Lee quickly dashed for cover behind some thick bushes.
But we three little dumb ones dutifully dropped to the ground and assumed the shapes of rocks. Blue, pink, and red rocks.
The car approached, slowed, paused, then accelerated and went around the next corner. Phew! that was a close one. Good thing we were so quick to make like rocks.
We finished our tour around the block and sneaked back into the house, still breathing hard from our mad dash. Stifling giggles. Feeling so clever and brave.
The next morning, Daddy had a talk with us.
Seems the Rio Vista police got a called from a concerned citizen about us being up and out so late on a Saturday night.
A few years later, when we resumed sneaking out of the house at night, it had more to do with meeting friends and going for a spin in a borrowed car.
Our older sister and brother were certainly worthy of our love. But we little ones were too young and immature to realize that Jay and Lee were not worthy of being our guardians. They, themselves were immature and unwise.
My gullibility at the age of six reminds me of the early Christians and how readily they listened to and were deceived by false teachers. In The Apostle John’s first letter, he warned his “children” not to listen to every teacher but to test the spirits. And he gave them criteria to use when discerning if a teacher was worthy of listening to.
- Was the teacher faithful to adhere to the truth of the gospel and to the Apostles’ teachings?
- Did he show love through loving actions?
- Did he obey the Lord’s commands?
It’s so easy to believe someone just because they are admirable and speak lovely words.
But an attractive personality and persuasive words don’t necessarily align themselves with the truth. Sometimes attractive people with attractive personalities do some pretty rotten things.
I wanted to believe my brother and sister when I was a child. Later, when I grew up, I realized how dangerous and silly their midnight plans were. Because I came to know that a trustworthy guardian listens to the parents’ warnings, puts no one in danger, and does not try to hide his or her
Have you ever run into a situation where you had to discern the truth or deception behind a leader’s words? How did that turn out?
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1 NIB Bible)