Urban Legend?–1 John 5:10

Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.–1 John 5:10

A friend of Emily’s passed on a story that went something like this. (I’ve substituted details as the original is even more disgusting than this one.)

I know a woman who got sick last week after eating at the Food Factory on Noland Road. When she went to the emergency room, they asked her if she had any leftovers of the food. She did. When they tested it, they found that there were rat droppings in the food and she had contracted bubonic plague.

Since we had just eaten at “Food Factory,” this story hit us in the gut, but something seemed off about the account. I punched the words “Food Factory” and “rat droppings” into Google, and found this story attributed to a “Food Factory” in Des Moines from several years ago.

Urban legends are intriguing to me, not because some gullible people–me sometimes–spread them, but because somebody, somewhere, at some time told a story they absolutely knew to be false as if it were true.

Emily’s friend did something just as bad by moving the story from several years ago in Des Moines to last week in Independence. Why? What else could we call this sort of a story but a lie and the person that told it but a liar?

One of the truths of human life, it seems, is that people lie. People lie to get your money or to get out of trouble or sometimes just for the fun of it. If you were to tally up all the breakings of Ten Commandments, I have to believe that “bearing false witness” would lead the league.

Despite the fact that we all lie, at least occasionally, most of us bristle if called a “liar,” and well we should. Most of us don’t go around calling others a liar without carefully considering the consequences. Perhaps that’s why John uses these strong words. Do you want to call God a liar?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably not the sort of person who would reject that testimony of Christ, but there’s still important truth here for us as believers. John suggests in this passage that the testimony of Christ is so powerful that the only way to reject it is to call God a liar. That should embolden us when it comes to witnessing. All too often, we worry about what somebody will think when presented with the gospel. John, I believe, says that the gospel is so clear, so well supported outside of anything you or I relate, that we needn’t worry about that. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not an urban legend. It will communicate. All we need to do is share the truth.

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