The Bible Meets Life
Between 1590 and 1613, William Shakespeare wrote close to forty plays that are still performed around the world. So in 1795, when William-Henry Ireland produced documents supposedly written by Shakespeare, the world took notice. Several experts authenticated the documents. When Ireland “found” a previously unknown Shakespearean play called Vortigern and Rowena, it was immediately put into production. But the first performance revealed a play so bad that fighting broke out and Ireland was revealed as a fraud.
Ireland didn’t find these documents at all. He had cleverly aged parchment paper and learned to forge the handwriting of the famous playwright; eventually however, these works were seen for the forgeries they were. At some point, inauthenticity will always be revealed—even when it is in a Christian’s attitude. Most of us can be polite and friendly when we have to, but genuine joy calls for something deeper. People can detect the difference between a superficial “I’m glad to see you” and authentic joy. We cannot manufacture such genuine joy, but we will possess it when we’re consumed with the gospel and the love of Christ.