Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 7, 1957
NUMBER 27, PAGE 2-3b

"Good Understanding Giveth Favor"

Asa M. Plyler, Jasper, Alabama

As we now humbly continue our study of the above subject, and point out some of the causes that keep brethren from "good understanding," let it be remembered that in the first article we pointed out the danger of prejudice, and showed how that because of prejudice we sometimes go along life's way with the wrong feeling toward some person or thing.

Truth and facts must be treated with fairness and candor, or else they will turn from our heart's door and knock no more.

Stubbornness is another cause of misunderstanding among brethren. And it is quite possible that sometimes we mistake stubbornness for firmness, and think we are only being firm when, in fact, we are being nothing but plain stubborn. I can recall that more than once in life I have defended some personal friend, and made a strong effort to justify him in his conduct, only to find later that the charges against him are true. The "facts" were not what I willed them to be, and I had to yield at length and acknowledge that, Truly "stubbornness is as idolatry." (I Sam. 15:22.)

Someone has said that "A half truth is a whole lie." One day while waiting on the street corner for another, a brother came along, stopped for a moment's conversation, and said, "Brother Plyler, I have heard that you no longer believe the Old Testament," I asked him just what he meant by that statement. He said that he had been told this, and just wanted to know about it. I asked no further questions, but told him that I had always believed and taught that the Old Testament is profitable, that the things written aforetime are for our leaning, and that we are to profit by its teachings and examples; but that the New Testament is to govern our obedience and conduct under the Christian Age. I suppose someone had heard me say (possibly over the radio) that the Old Testament is not for obedience today, and then reported that I no longer believed in the Old Testament. Such a report, of course, was false.

Just a few days ago, a brother said to me, "I have been told that you do not believe in orphan homes." I said to him, "Brother - - - - there is not a man on earth that believes that an orphan should not have a home. I challenge the world to produce the name and address of one man who says that he does not believe that an orphan should have a home. But as I understand the Bible, there are some ways of providing a home for orphan children that would not be in harmony with the Scripture." I further told this good man, "I believe exactly what the church practices where you worship regarding these things. Do you endorse what you practice? He replied, "I certainly do." Then I pointed out that we were agreed on this subject. He seemed to feel great relieved, Truly "good understanding giveth favor."

I have read several articles in our religious papers in which the writers have spoken of other brethren as "non-cooperation" brethren, One writer said that he knew that they did not want to be called that, but he was going to call them that anyway. Sometimes denominational people call Christians "Campbellites." They know that we do not accept that name, or title, but seem to take pleasure in calling us that. Well, why do we not accept it? Simply because it is not true, Why do some insist on calling their brethren "non-cooperation brethren" when they that those to whom they refer do not accept that designation? Brethren, does it make for peace to call a man something he does not accept, and does not want to be called? Is it in harmony with Christianity to do a thing of that kind? How long will it take us to get together on these things if we persist in calling each other ugly names and trying to taunt and ridicule one another? All this adds up to the fact that we should learn to be exceedingly careful in representing others — else we may be guilty of mis-representing them.

Assumption is another cause that brings about misunderstandings. To "assume" a thing is to take for granted that which is not proved. An assumption is something assumed or taken for granted, for which proof is lacking or has not been given. For example: Brother "A" put out a false and evil report against Brother "B" and the church for which Brother "B" preached. Upon hearing the report, Brother "B" went immediately to Brother "A," and asked why he had made such a statement. Brother "A" replied that he had heard the report and "assumed" that it was true. In an effort to justify himself for so "assuming," he named two or three points that he thought gave grounds for the "assumption." He was quickly shown that the points were in error, that the report was false, and that his "assumption" had been a sinful and wicked thing. Brother "A" then said that all he knew to do was to go to the places where he had made the false report and correct it. When a wrong has been done, the best thing that can be done is to correct it — but it is far, far better to be exceeding careful not to start the evil report in the first place.

There is a story that a father once, as a means of punishment, required his son to drive a nail into the gate post for each and every wrong that he did, Soon the gate post had so many nails in it that place could hardly be found for another. The father granted the son the right to pull out all the nails in the post. After the nails were removed, the boy looked at the scarred and battered post and began to weep. "Why do you weep," asked the father. "The nails are all gone." "Yes," replied the son, "the nails are gone; but the holes are still there." So it is that the evil scars of our disobedience remain long, long after we have done all within our, power to correct them, There is still another reason for misunderstandings. It is sad, but true, that sometimes false statements are made and false accusations are levied to keep people in the dark! This is evil and wicked, and I wish that it were not true. But it is. When we stand before the judge of all the earth, and the "books" are opened, what a revealing day that will be!

In God's great plan of the universe, and in his scheme of redemption for mankind, it is the Father's will that no people on earth are to be closer together than those who are brethren in Christ. Fleshly ties of this earth must pass away and go into forgetfulness forever. But spiritual ties must live on with the soul for all eternity. When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians he admonished them, "So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us." (I. These. 2:8.) Jesus said, "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me." (Matt 10:37.) And Paul declared, "For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor heights, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 8:38.) Add to this the words of Peter, "Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently." (I Pet. 1:22.) May God help us to lay aside our little whims and fancies, and with "good understanding" to draw nearer together, that we may draw nigh unto God.