ANY YEARS AGO A FRIEND AND FELLOW CHURCH MEMBER INVITED me to become a member of the local Rotary Club. It’s an association I’ve enjoyed in every community I’ve lived in ever since. It’s an opportunity to meet and socialize with people I’d never otherwise meet—people of diverse ages, professions, ethnicities, and religious persuasions.
One of the things I’ve come to appreciate most is Rotary’s “Four-Way Test of the things we think, say, or do.” Like me, most Rotarians have a plaque hanging on their walls that lists the four questions we’re supposed to ask ourselves as we interact with people day by day:
Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Rotary is not a religious organization (although we do begin each meeting with prayer). But if it were, the “Four-Way Test” would be its “Great Commandment.” It is, after all, based on the golden rule: “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matt. 7:12).
It’s amazing how truth is mishandled these days. Even some Christians, who espouse such lofty ideals as “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” (Matt. 22:37) and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39), sometimes twist the truth to suit their own purposes—ironically, in the name of defending truth.
Let’s always tell the truth. But let’s do it in a way that’s fair and beneficial to all concerned. We live in a world in desperate need of goodwill and better friendships.
Stephen Chavez is managing editor of the Adventist Review. This article was published May 13, 2010.