Before I get to my comments I want to give a shout out to Mere Inkling, an enjoyable blog where the writer writes about C.S. Lewis and his works. Mere Inkling posted the The Kingdom and the Lion from Aesop’s Fables.
The Kingdom of the Lion
The beasts of the field and forest had a Lion as their king. He was neither wrathful, cruel, nor tyrannical, but just and gentle as a king could be. During his reign he made a royal proclamation for a general assembly of all the birds and beasts, and drew up conditions for a universal league, in which the Wolf and the Lamb, the Panther and the Kid, the Tiger and the Stag, the Dog and the Hare, should live together in perfect peace and amity.
The Hare said, “Oh, how I have longed to see this day, in which the weak shall take their place with impunity by the side of the strong.” And after the Hare said this, he ran for his life.
The Moral: Saying something does not make it so. (Aesop’s Fables).
My first thought after smiling at the hare’s wisdom was trust but verify. There are some circumstances that I deal with in the counseling office that require forgiveness; that’s not optional.
Trust is something else entirely. A man that beats his wife may be forgiven but rebuilding trust takes a lot of time and much accountability. As a point aside, domestic physical violence always, let me repeat always, gets worse. There is no backing off a little at a time. It is a sin that requires radical amputation. It must stop now! But I digress.
My second thought got me to the Book of James:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. James 1:22-24, ESV
In the fable the hare does not trust the lion’s words because he doubts some predators can change just because a King makes a proclamation.
In the passage James does not trust someone who merely ‘hears’ the Word of God but does nothing with it. It’s probably where the saying ” the words fell on deaf ears” came from.
James says that such a person is deceived, meaning they have severely miscalculated. The Word of God is meant for Christians who are serious about the gospel and gospel change. If the Word falls on deaf ears there is no change and therefore, it is doubtful that the person understands the gospel of grace in the first place.
As a biblical counselor I’ve learned to trust, but verify.