As a military officer, I was quite intrigued to come across an unusual tactic used in World War II. During that war, the British Air Force once dropped a lot of books into enemy lines that contained instructions on “How To Fake Illnesses” with detailed step-by-step guide on how a soldier or a factory worker could fake illnesses to get sent home. Once the Nazi command saw these booklets, they stopped believing soldiers and workers who claimed to have illness, and refused to send them home. They thought they understood what was happening, but they didn’t. And the result? Not only did this damage morale, it also caused genuinely ill soldiers or workers to get sent back into combat and work, spreading real disease among their ranks.
As I read that, I thought of the enemy that you and I have, who uses misunderstandings to cause suspicion, mistrust, and dissention among believers. How many times have Christians been in conflict with one another simply because, instead of believing the best in each other, or instead of going directly to someone when there is a concern, instead jump to conclusions based on the limited information? This has resulted in untold hurt and damage in relationships, quenching the Spirit and hindering ministry.
God gives us a much better way to respond when there is something we don’t understand or don’t like. A whole lot better than nursing hurt, harboring bitterness, and better than speaking against a brother. It’s what 1 Corinthians 13:6 says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Out of genuine, passionate, concern for the value of another person, love will do everything it can to directly go to that person with a desire to work things out, to cover failings and sin. God delights in that and blesses that. May this be our response of love to one another.