I recently heard a television ad that made me chuckle. It touted that the product being offered was made completely from plants. Okay, I thought, but what plants? Are they beneficial plants or just used for taste or coloring? The ad never said and that left me wondering. Later, I thought about how many well-meaning religious organizations make claims or blanket statements about what scripture says. Teaching what initially seems sound, but is misleading, just like in the ad.
We hear a lot of advertising these days about items being “all natural”, free-from foods or simply called healthy. Slogans intended to make us feel good about what we buy. Claims are often made about the things we use daily. Telling us what we want to hear. But is saying something’s “all natural” or using similar words enough? While wordplay has always been part of advertising, the problem is that these terms, while sounding healthy, do not necessarily make them good for us.
In the same way, we often hear religious messages that seem right, but don’t necessarily give us the whole story. For example, we may have been told that to be “free” from the devil and have our sins forgiven, all we must do is ask Jesus into our hearts. Nothing more required. That sounds right when selected verses are read, however, the scripture shows us there is more to it. What about the 10 commandments? Often people are told they are irrelevant, that the law is done away with or dead. But consider John’s words, “Whoever practices sin breaks the law, for sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4 Modern English Version throughout) and “Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. Sin is the breaking of the law.” (1 John 3:44) If we believe there is sin, then the law cannot be dead.
Messages that say things like “All natural” do not give us enough information. Similarly, saying all we need to do is accept Christ into our heart, leaves out other important information. Just like in the ads, we see we sometimes hear partial truths. The law is dead statement uses some scripture but leaves out a lot more. We may believe what we hear only because it’s all we hear. Paul asks, “Do we then make the law void through faith? God forbid! Instead, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:31)
Some foods use bugs for coloring food (i.e. cochineal bugs sometimes called carmine), wood pulp in shredded cheese, and unknown sweeteners in various products, they are all natural, but do we want them? The point is that just because someone says something is natural, doesn’t mean it’s good for us. Sand is natural but do you want it in your butter?
Hundreds of lawsuits are filed every year against false labeling. Lawsuits are brought because people find that for whatever reason a product was not what it was expressed to be, was defective or was deceptive. We don’t file lawsuits when we realize there are flaws in our religious beliefs, but we can make changes. We need to know the truth. Jesus said, “…If you remain in My word, then you are truly My disciples. You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:31-32) Jesus also tells us that He speaks truth and those of God hear God’s words. (John 8:45-47)
Our personal change begins with truth. Truth comes from hearing the word of God and by reading the Bible. Learning what it truly includes, not only what others choose to include gives us power. (Romans 10:17) When it comes to what’s called “all natural” we should dig deeper and understand what “all” truly includes. When we are learning about God and Christ, we should never just take someone’s word for it, but back it up with our own study of the Bible. Knowledge is power and the truth can set us free.