TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY
Solomon presents a helpful proverb to ensure we have an honest evaluation of the situation. A wise parent knows that when children are involved in a disagreement with a sibling, they will seek to place themselves in the best light and conveniently leave out important details. It is only when we learn the full story that one can arrive at the truth. If we are to walk in the truth, we must know the truth.
Unfortunately, we may be guilty of self approbation to sway the decision in our favor. As a leader involved in adjudication, Solomon no doubt confronted this problem and left us this helpful principle:
The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17)
This is an example of the adage that there are two banks to every creek. This proverb does not necessarily imply that the first person who tells his side of the story is an untruthful person. Two individuals witnessing the same situation, may give different interpretations. The story will be more likely to differ if a selective rendition of the facts may benefit one’s self-interest. Therefore, we see the need to ensure that we have the full story if we are to arrive at a truthful conclusion.
The Hebrew word, examines, conveys the idea to diligently search out a matter and thoroughly investigate all the facts. The same word is used by Solomon as he described the responsibility of a king to diligently search out the truth:
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter. (Proverbs 25:2)
Potiphar’s wife seemed to be just in her accusation against Joseph as she accused him of misconduct when he left his garment in her hand and fled. From her perspective these were the facts, but if Joseph had been allowed to tell his side of the story, then the truth would have been made known. Are we guilty of making a verdict before we know all the facts?
We must be careful not to justify our own actions. This is why we need people who have the courage to speak truth into our lives and help us to perceive the truth. If we’re keeping secrets from others, it’s an indication that we don’t want the truth – we want to justify our own behavior. Our ability to rationalize our behaviors knows no boundaries. We do not see things as they are, but as we are. Who do you have in your life who can tell you when you’ve gotten off track?
David experienced the painful consequences of his sinful ways and his need to have a proper understanding of the truth. His prayer revealed his desire for God’s perspective in his life:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; (Psalm 139:23)