Once upon a time, there was a traveler who had a map. It was a good map. He could use that map to get where he wanted to go, even in territory not familiar to him. In any kind of weather, in any kind of conditions, that map would never change. It could always be trusted to be true. Traveler followed that map religiously when he traveled.
One day he wanted to go to a certain place. But as he traveled, he found that the road was rough. It wasn’t smooth and easy like the interstate. This really didn’t sit well with Traveler, so he got his map out again. Surely there was an easier road that would lead him to his destination. But, alas, he could find no other road on the map.
So he did what any experienced traveler would do. He chose a road that headed in the general direction and started down it. But the more he followed that road, the more it began to turn in another direction. Along the way he stopped to ask questions, to make sure he was headed in the right direction. Seeing a man by the road, he stopped and inquired of him. Traveler told him where he wanted to go.
“Sure,” the man said, “this road will get you there. Just keep following it.”
“But,” replied Traveler, “have you ever been there by following this road?”
“Well, no, but I know it will get you there. Others – very intelligent people – have told me so,” responded the man.
“What about going back to the main road and following my map again?” Traveler asked.
“Your map is old and worn out. It can’t lead you to where you want to go. Only ignorant people still use that map. Enlightened people ignore the worn-out directions it gives,” said the man, who was obviously very educated and experienced.
Well, Traveler kept traveling down the road, even though it seemed that he might not be headed where he wanted to go. Finally deciding that it might be time to return to the main road and follow his map, he saw a group. He stopped and asked them if the road he was on would get him where he wanted to go.
“Sure, just keep following the road, and you will get there,” one in the group said.
“But have any of you ever followed this road to make sure it will get me where I want to go?” he asked.
“Well, no, but we all know that if you will follow this road, you can get to where you want to go,” came the reply.
Upset, Traveler told the crowd that he was going back to where he left the main road and that he was going to begin using his map again. Upon hearing these words, the group began to berate Traveler for disagreeing with their wisdom. They called him such terms as stupid, uneducated, right-winger, bigot, homophobe, fundamentalist, even censor.
Now Traveler was so upset with this criticism that he ignored his instincts to return and use the map that had served him faithfully for many years. Traveler decided that to avoid the criticism and public humiliation, he had best continue down the road he was traveling. He did and continues to do so to this day.
And he still hasn’t arrived.
In fact, the farther he travels without his map, the farther he gets away from where he wanted to go.
Now, let me tell you another story. Once upon a time, there was a church that had a Bible. …
Editor’s Note: From the late 1970s through 2010, Don Wildmon, founder and president emeritus of American Family Association, wrote hundreds of monthly columns for AFA Journal. Thirty-one of his best columns are now available in a recently published collection titled Our Call to Faithfulness: The Voice and Legacy of Don Wildmon. These columns represent his timeless wisdom and insight and are now being published weekly on The Stand in celebration of AFA’s 40 years of ministry.
Click here or call 877-927-4917 to order your own copy of Our Call to Faithfulness: The Voice and Legacy of Don Wildmon.