“He who answers a matter before he hears the facts – it is folly and shame to him.”
~ Proverbs 18:13
The following is one of the most powerful stories I’ve ever heard on this score. There are many valuable lessons bound up with it for every disciple of the Lord Jesus.
One afternoon, a small group of men were eating lunch at a private golf club. All were members of the club, except for one. He was a guest – a friend of one of the members. As the men finished their meal, one of them pulled out of his pocket a very rare coin that he had recently purchased. The man glowed with excitement as he passed the precious coin around the table. Each man marveled as they held the coin in their hand and heard the story behind it. The owner of the coin shared that this was the only coin of its kind in existence, and he purchased it at half the price of what it was worth.
Suddenly the coin disappeared. The owner asked what happened to it. Each man swore that he had passed the coin to his neighbor. The last man who was supposed to hold it denied having received it at all, and no one could tell where it was now. A hasty search was made; chairs were pulled away from the table, the tablecloth was turned back, and each man stood up. But after 20 minutes of frantic search, there was no place else to look.
The coin was gone. “Someone here must have taken it,” blurted the owner, his pale face turned red. One of the men stood up and said: “We should all be searched. I offer myself first.” Every other man at the table promptly expressed his willingness to be searched except one man – and he was not a member of the club. He was the guest.
“I will not be searched,” he declared. “I haven’t stolen your coin, so why should I be subjected to such an indignity?” There was a storm of protest. Why shouldn’t he be willing if all the others were? The guest shook his head. He didn’t care what the others did or said. And he defied anyone to put a hand into his pockets.
One of the men said, “Then there’s only one thing left to do. No one must leave this table until the police arrive.” A very old waiter who was standing near the table had something on his mind. He noticed that there was no pepper on one of the other tables. So he asked to borrow the pepper from the table where all the controversy was focused on. He lifted the pepper shaker from off the table, and to everyone’s shock, there lay the missing coin!
The contention was over. The owner of the coin asked the guest. “Why were you so stubborn about being searched? Why did you refuse? What was the big deal?” The guest breathed a sigh of relief and said, “No one would have believed me, especially because I kept quiet in the beginning. The fact is, I am also a collector of coins. And the coin that you have is not the only one in existence. There is a duplicate that I bought two weeks ago in Paris. I thought mine was the only one at the time. I brought it here to show everyone today. It’s in my pocket right now. But I didn’t say anything about it because I didn’t want to dampen your enthusiasm . . . Now who would have believed what I just said 10 minutes ago?” Each doubting member of the group looked at one another with regret in their eyes.
Things aren’t always what they seem. It’s better to trust, even though we are sometimes deceived, than to live lives of suspicion and accusation. Love doesn’t think the worst about others; it always thinks the best.