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Lies In Disguise

Edgar Allen Poe is credited with saying, "Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear." Poe may have overstated the case, but thoughtful people realize the world is filled with illusions. Solomon warned, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12). That being so, a healthy degree of caution and slowness to swallow everything that comes to our eyes and ears is a healthy thing. Our's is a world where images are photo-shopped and manipulated and technology allows people to post any thought or opinion that just happens to pop into what are sometimes fairly empty heads! News casters and political pundits "spin" everything they report on TV and radio. The internet is bursting with opinions, viewpoints, and "perspectives" — some good, but much of it just plain goofy! Gullible people naively believe any and everything they read on the internet or social media to be true. I ran into a quote recently that warns against that mistake. It went this way: "The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity — Abraham Lincoln." A little girl asked her father, "Daddy, do all fairy tales begin with the words, 'Once upon a time?' Here daddy replied, 'No. A whole lot of them begin with the words, 'If elected, I promise.'" Apologies to honest politicians among us!

The point is lies come in disguise. They even show up in disguise down at church and in pulpits. Jesus warned about that in Matthew 7:15-20. Verse 15 of that text preaches a message many in our pluralistic world simply do not want to hear and will not objectively consider — "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." These words simply don't resonate with many in our pluralistic age. Increasing numbers in our world do not believe any religious beliefs or moral behaviors are false and wrong, except for the religious belief that says some religious beliefs and moral behaviors are false and wrong! In a publication called Pulpit Helps (1/01) Lee Weeks quoted religious author Josh McDowell who said the prevailing cultural mindset in America defines truth according to be "personal perspective" and "personal experience." The result is a popular belief that truth is not something that exists separate and apart from us, waiting to be discovered; rather, truth is something to be created by each one of us as we see it! The apostle Paul affirms that "the truth is in Jesus" (Ephesians 4:21b). But in these days when all claims to truth are viewed as equal and valid, many believe the wrongheaded idea that "truth is in me," or in public opinion polls, or Presidential executive orders, or Supreme Court rulings. Frequently we hear someone speak of "my truth" or "your truth," and that all roads, no matter how diverse and conflicting, will lead at last lead to God. Not true says Jesus. A religious and moral lie is still a lie, no matter how well disguised. A wolf in sheep's clothing is still a wolf, and a lie is still a lie, even if millions of people believe it. The devil is an expert at disguising lies (Genesis 3:1ff; John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15). God's word wolf-proofs the church, protects the sheep, and guides us to eternal life (John 7:17; John 8:32; 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22; Acts 17:11; Acts 20:32). Think about it.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ