Are we truly informing ourselves?

Published 9:13 am Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jake and Roger stand at the entrance to the maze. It’s a difficult maze full of dead end turns and confusion. Most people don’t make it through to the other side.

The official at the front gate hands each of them a map, the same one everyone else has always gotten, and wishes them good luck. “Make sure you follow the map,” he warns as they stroll through the welcome center.

“This map is huge,” Roger screams. “It will take a year to read it all!”

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Jake sighs in agreement.

Lost people who had entered before them seek and offer advice about paths to travel…and there are thousands to choose from. Roger notices a worn down path and decides to follow the others. “This is where everyone else is going, so it must be the way to go,” he reasoned, tossing his map to the ground along with the others that had been discarded.

Jake paused as his friend walked ahead. “But if those people are all lost and confused and unsure about where they are going, why would we follow them? Why not read the map and figure it out for ourselves?”

“Somebody in here has to know how to get out,” Roger said impatiently, pointing to the crowded path. “Look at all those people following that man up front. Come on! This must be the way.”

Jake looked at his map and stood still. “I’m going to read this first,” he said. “I want to be certain I’m going in the right direction.”

“Whatever, dude,” Roger laughed as he scurried on. “Good luck with that.”

This story could continue forever, which it does. In the end, Roger decides to follow and listen to people who interpret his map for him. He’s highly intelligent and therefore doesn’t need to read some silly map to find directions, especially one so cumbersome. He depends upon himself and his intuition. It’s always been that way for him.

Jake understands that blindly overlooking directions is the first step toward disaster…especially when these directions were written by the one who built the maze. It only makes sense to him to allow his map to guide him.

A lot of us are like Roger when it comes to the Bible. Instead of reading what it says for ourselves, we allow others to interpret it for us….a pastor, a priest, or a pope. Personally, I’ve tried to walk through this maze for decades without reading the Bible. My excuses were, “I don’t understand it,” “I don’t have time,” “It doesn’t apply to me,” “Why spend my time reading it when so many people interpret it in so many different ways?”

And my favorite excuse was this: “Every time I read the Bible, I feel guilty.”

Now that I’ve picked my map back up on a daily basis, I see why I need to read it personally…and why the guilt I felt was for a purpose. If I don’t read it, how can I expect to know which path to take? If I say I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins but do not read his word (his map), how will I know when I am being deceived or deceiving others with my “logic”?

Deception is a constant theme in the Bible. And the one who deceives plays a prominent role. His goal is to keep your eyes away from the map that will guarantee your safe passage through this maze. And if he succeeds, which he will with the majority of people, one day you will clearly see the path you should have taken.

But by then, it will be too late. And my map says you’ll have eternity to think about it.

Read the Bible for yourself. The map to life is right there on its pages.

Don’t be a follower like Roger, discarding your map and blindly accepting someone else’s opinions. Be like Jake. Read the map and inform yourself.

And if you doubt the Bible but have never read it, ask yourself this question: “How do I know for sure that it isn’t real?”

How do you know unless you read it for yourself?


Billy Bruce is a freelance writer who lives in Pedro. He can be contacted at