I know a man who was in his late 30’s when I met him, and in the ensuing 10 years here’s what took place in his life: He worked at five different jobs, lived in five different houses, lived with his mother-in-law two separate times, and I stopped counting when he bought his 20th vehicle.  Again… all in just 10 years!  Now… what would you think about him given just this information?  

With what is written above, that is accurate and truthful, you might conclude: He had trouble holding down a job and that is why he had to move so many times… including living with family twice.  You might think he had financial difficulty that came from buying so many cars.  Then you would most certainly consider him a high risk were you looking to hire someone.  After all… he changed jobs every 2 years.  But that isn’t the whole story. 

Proverbs 18:17, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”

Now for the other side of the story.

The man I am referring to was in middle management of a large bank in the city where we lived (Job #1).  Then he was hired to be the CEO of a competing bank in the same city and made it the number one lender in the area (Job #2).  Then he took over a company that was close to bankruptcy and made it profitable within a very short time (Job #3).  Then he was asked by a high ranking government official to serve in his administration for two years (Job #4).  After fulfilling his commitment, he started his own business that within one year became highly profitable (Job #5.  Which he has now kept for several years.).

As for housing.  Each move was selling a house that he built for a profit .  He took the money and built each successive home.  He lived with his mother in law twice for a short time while he was building two other houses. 

As for purchasing cars… his wife said that was his one “weakness.”  Quoting her: “I’d rather him buy cars than run around with women.”  He told me that when he was young he didn’t have the money for a vehicle and now that he was somewhat successful he indulged himself in that one area.  In short, the rest of the story brings clarity and truth to the facts.

I also knew that he regularly and secretly helped many people financially.  He was a leader in the church he attended by teaching Sunday School… was the chairman of a $3.2 million building project for the church… and served multiple terms as deacon and deacon chairman.

Bottom line.  If you only knew part of the story… even though what you know may be true… you could come to the wrong conclusions.  The way I presented my friend’s story, while 100% true, is an example of how this can happen.  Thus the importance of Proverbs 18:17 .  So when you hear something about someone… be careful that you don’t jump to conclusions.  Even the best intentioned people can add 2 and 2 and get 5 sometimes.   And how embarrassing would it be for you to tell someone something you heard that turned out to be wrong.

I guess that’s why people have to swear in court… “Do you promise to tell the truth… the WHOLE truth… and nothing but the truth?”