In this week’s installment of Do You Know Your Walk Away Point? I want to talk to you about the importance of the vetting process.
Several years ago I was shopping for a car for my niece. I was considering two particular models because I knew they would be reliable. When I found one I thought was a good prospect, I took it for a test drive. Mind you, I had some experience with this model because I had owned one before. I was pretty confident it would perform well, last long, and not give my niece any problems. But I didn’t skip the test drive.
You have probably heard the phrase trust, but verify. That is what test driving does for you. It allows you to confirm what you think you know. It also gives you the opportunity to learn things you do not know. In essence, by test driving this car I was saying, “I have known cars like you and had a good experience with them. But since I do not know you personally, I am going to take some time to get to know you. Before I can commit to you, I need to see how you behave on the road. Then I will decide whether I walk away or move forward.” This is also a good practice in relationships. Sometimes we are quick to give ourselves to things, opportunities, and yes, people we have not vetted.
The best cautionary tale of the danger of jumping into relationships too quickly is the story of Joshua and the Gibeonites. Fresh into the promised land, Joshua had strict instructions to rid the land of all its residents. The Gibeonites were fearful of death, so they misrepresented themselves and cunningly persuaded Joshua to make a covenant with them. They talked a good game and showed some convincing evidence. But at the end of the day it was all a lie. So how could Joshua have known they were not who they said they were? Well, the story points out the misstep in Joshua 9:14 (ERV). “The men of Israel wanted to know if these men were telling the truth. So they tasted the bread—but they did not ask the Lord what they should do.” And the real tragedy is only three short days later, Joshua found out the truth about the Gibeonites. Unfortunately, it was too late by then. The covenant had been sealed. Joshua, who was a great leader, committed when he should have walked away.
Making friends and forming relationships is something that we start doing at a young age, so we may assume we are good at it. I was well into my adult years when I realized that I am not nearly as good a judge of character or motives as God is. The single most important thing we can do when making relationship decisions is seek and heed God’s counsel. Entering into this relationship with the Gibeonites without consulting God was a costly decision. Generations later, the Israelites were still bound by a covenant with people they were supposed to put to death.
Joshua trusted but he did not verify. And his story teaches us that tasting alone is not a thorough vetting process. In relationships, verifying is watching and listening long enough to see if a person is who they say they are, if their words and actions match, and if they have a reputation for being reliable? It’s looking past what they can offer you in the short term and considering what they might cost you in the long run.
So friends, be discerning, be selective, and be certain to invite God into your relationship decisions.
Living In The Light,