By Johnny Hester
Old Bill was quite a strange fellow who fell victim to a rare mental disorder, the Cotard Delusion — a condition in which the affected person holds the delusional belief that he or she is already dead. One morning he awoke thoroughly convinced that he was dead! His wife did her best to persuade him that he was still very much alive, but he clung to the delusion that he was dead. Bill’s children and grandchildren all had a go at convincing the old fellow that he was still in the land of the living, but he point-blank refused to believe it. He knew that he was dead and nobody would persuade him otherwise.
Eventually his family became so concerned that they took him to a psychiatrist. The doctor spent many hours with Bill over several weeks, but all his skills were of no avail as the stubborn old gentleman continued to insist that he was stone cold dead. After one particularly fruitless session the psychiatrist was ready to give up. But just then an idea struck him.
Taking down his medical books, he used them to illustrate the irrefutable scientific fact that dead people do not bleed. After about an hour he asked, “So Bill, do you agree that dead men don’t bleed?” “Of course,” agreed Bill, “everybody knows that!” “And do you still insist that you are dead?” “Doc, I’ve told you a thousand times, I’m as dead as a doornail.” At this point the psychiatrist took a pin and suddenly jammed it into Old Bill’s thumb. Immediately a trickle of blood leaked out. “So, what do you think now!” said the psychiatrist triumphantly. “Well, I’ll be a blue-nosed gopher,” Bill exclaimed, “dead men do bleed!”
At times I’ve been like Old Bill in the refusing to budge from my preconceived notions and foregone conclusions. The attitude exhibited was “I know what I believe—I’ve made up my mind, so don’t confuse me with the facts!”
Brothers and sisters, let’s fight against such tendencies—especially regarding spiritual truth—and be receptive to what God has clearly indicated in His Word; whether by declaration, command, example, or necessarily implication. When we ascertain what God has said about any matter, we may have confidence that what He says is accurate and true. As Jesus prayed for His disciples, He asked of His Father, “Sanctify them through the truth; your Word is truth” (John 17:17).
I love the attitude, “If God said it, that settles it.” This is the attitude every Christian should take when it comes to learning, loving and obeying God's inspired and inspiring Word.
- Johnny Hester preaches for the Matthews Church of Christ in Matthews, MO. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org