If by some supernatural power everyone on earth were forced to tell the truth, we would undoubtedly have worldwide chaos, the end of civilization as we know it — within an hour!
What are poor Christian sheep to do in the midst of all these wolves? Sadly, too many, with wholesome sincerity, try to "believe all things" as the "love chapter" (I Corinthians 13) seems to admonish. But the application of biblical truths takes balance, wisdom and sometimes painful experience. What with statements like "turn the other cheek," "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's" and "let every soul be subject unto the higher powers," the Christian dove finds himself all too often at a distinct disadvantage — unnecessarily so.
The Prince of Peace, the Lamb of God, the Son of Man and the Son of God only "believed," "turned," "rendered," or "was subject unto" when His judgment of truth (and prophetic necessity) in a situation required it. The world is full of liars, con-men (and women), thieves, hucksters, perverts, rebels, sadists, baiters and "sons of Belial"! Of this Jesus was not unaware.
You don't think He was fooled when people called Him "Master" and then proceeded to ask Him a trick question, do you? Do you think He paid tax on the bread and fish He multiplied for the five thousand? How about the time He fled through the midst of a crowd that was about to throw Him off a cliff before His time to die had come — did He "turn the other cheek" that time? Or how about even the piercing wisdom of noncritical times such as His experience with the "woman at the well"?
In that episode He met a Samaritan woman and asked her for a drink of water. She thought it odd that He would even speak to her since He was a Jew, and so she remarked. He took advantage of the situation to pass on to her a few jewels of truth properly wrapped in the symbolic words of "bread" and "water" which He said were guaranteed to keep her from thirst and hunger forever! He then urged her to call her husband to join them. She responded by saying, "I have no husband." To which Jesus agreed, in a way, adding that the whole truth of the matter was that she had had five husbands and that the man with whom she was presently living was indeed not her husband!
So Jesus chose what to believe and what not to — He weighed, judged, perceived, untangled her statements and arrived harmlessly at the truth without swallowing whole any story — in short He read between the lines, as He did with everyone with whom He came in contact throughout His entire life: Read the Book!
So, for balance, let's believe this command of Jesus: "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men..." (Matt. 10:16-17). Just as good a translation could be "subtle as a snake and simple as a dove," Serpent, snake, Satan, the devil: It's difficult for some Christians to believe Jesus when He commands subtlety — but, as with most things or attributes, it is not the thing or the attribute which is evil of itself, but its use. So Jesus' command also requires the simple-as-a-dove motivation for the use of subtlety! Very wise!
Now life can be much more fulfilling, enjoyable, rewarding, The frustrating burden of belief in every conflicting statement or situation is removed. The effort in thoughtfulness, restraint and caution is more than reward enough, Let's tryout our newfound, yet responsibility-laden, freedom.