A school teacher lost her life savings in a business scheme that had been elaborately
explained by a swindler. When her investment disappeared and her dream was shattered, she
went to the Better Business Bureau.
"Why on earth didn't you come to us first?" the official asked. "Didn't you
know about the Better Business Bureau?"
"Oh, yes," said the lady sadly. "I've always known about you. But I
didn't come because I was afraid you'd tell me not to do it."
The folly of human nature is that even though we know where the answers lie--God's
Word--we don't turn there for fear of what it will say.
Some early studies concerned with prejudice show that we're quite capable of reordering
our perceptions of the world around us in order to maintain our conviction that we're
right. A group of white, middle-class New York City residents were presented with a
picture of people on a subway. Two men were in the foreground. One was white, one was
black. One wore a business suit, one was clothed in workman's overalls. One was giving his
money to the other who was threatening him with a knife. Now as a matter of fact it was
the black man who wore the suit, and it was he who was being robbed by the white laborer.
But such a picture didn't square with the prejudices of the viewers. To them, white men
were executives, black men were blue collar workers. Blacks were the robbers, whites the
victims. And so they reported what their mind told them they saw--that a black laborer was
assaulting a white businessman. As human beings who desperately desire our lives to be
consistent and untroubled, we'll go to great lengths to reject a message that implies
Em Griffin, The Mindchangers, Tyndale House, 1976, pp. 48-9.
For fifteen years Jim Fixx, author of the 1978 bestseller, The Complete Book of
Running, ran eighty miles a week. He appeared to be in tip-top shape. It didn't seem
possible that a man his age could be in better condition. Yet at age fifty-two Fixx died
of a massive heart attack while running alone on a Vermont road. His wife, Alice, later
said she was certain that Fixx had no idea he suffered from a heart problem. Why? Because
he refused to get regular checkups. After Jim Fixx's death, doctors speculated that his
heart was so strong he may not have had the telltale chest pains or shortness of breath
that usually signal arterial heart disease!
Today in the Word, May, 1990, MBI, p. 7.