Friday, September 19, 2014

The Power of Self-Deception

Jeremiah 17:9-10 - The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable, who can understand it? I, Yahweh, examine the mind, I test the heart to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve.

Once I was following a Facebook conversation between two people I have known for many years. Both are classic spend-a-holics. If they have a ten dollar bill in their pockets, they are going to spend it. They often spend their ten dollars in advance, causing them constantly to be indebted to others. As the Facebook conversation unfolded, both prided themselves on how well they handled money. They went on to talk about how they enjoy lots of free or inexpensive activities in the community. Having known them for many years, the words “free” and “inexpensive” do not come to mind when I think of the types of activities they like to engage in. They are both good people. But they enjoy spending money, almost to the point of being obsessed with material possessions and expensive activities. Yet, in their own minds, they are thrifty and excel at living frugally. They are self-deceived.

All of us have met diet experts who told us how to eat healthy. Far too often these experts weighed more than we did. Experts only in their own minds!

It is fascinating that we can have such an amazing capacity for self-deception. Another time I recall a long email I got from a person filled with gossip about various people in her church. She wanted me to come preach at her church and fix all these people. Near the end of the email the person said that she knew she was not perfect but at least she was not a gossip. I wanted to print the email off, underline the boast about not being a gossip and then number each item of gossip in the email and send it back to her. I did not have the courage to do that so I just replied that I was praying for her and her church.

When we live in a world of our own delusional thinking, we become trapped in a negative cycle repeating the same mistakes over and over again. We repeat those mistakes because we do not acknowledge that they exist. We must be willing to open our minds and hearts to the constructive criticism of others so that we can see our own faults and begin to address them. The ability to honestly assess our own lives and self-correct is essential for healthy living.

In my own life, I find a daily quiet time with the Lord essential in this process. As I read the scripture and pray, the Lord points out things in my life that need work. I do not always like what the Lord points out to me. But when I listen and respond, He helps me have a more authentic view of myself.

Lord, help us see ourselves as we really are and make the changes needed for a healthy and happy life. Amen.

This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link:

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