Acts 17:11 Archives

Deception Overswing

An email excerpt to a sister who was fighting her way out of a cult and embroiled in acrimonious conflict with her family concerning it.

As a suggestion for your consideration, our discussion in the past few days here has centered around deception of a sort not often considered. We have been talking of the echoes of deception; of deception overswing.

A brother who is visiting us just now is not long out of the Boston Church of Christ cult. We have been speaking of how we normally think of deception in the way of buying a lie that is surrounded by a lot of true things that act as bait.

But what about when we finally see and then reject the lie; is there not a counter-deception... when what is ordinate and good is sullied and debauched by the experience of association with deception?

As a dramatic example, a child molested will have a hard time getting out of marriage later what God intended. Satan wins in the initial act of sin, but perhaps more so in the residue that lasts a lifetime. Holy things are besmirched. Good things are tainted.

As another example, a child growing up with a drunken, angry, abusive father is not likely to respond properly to the revelation of God as Father, since father equates with jerk in actual experience and emotion. This is deception by instinct, deception by pendulum swing experience.

And which is the worse and more lasting deception: the initial evil, or the false associations and mistrained instincts of the aftermath?

For this is a quite common problem. What often lures people into cults, errors and such is what is good. If the good bait is taken, then comes the "slug in the gut" when you are in range of evil. And there is much evil in the world, as many of us have come to recognize. But what about those with good intent, like God? Our instincts become cross-wired. We are deceived into associating/blaming good things (the multi-racial fellowship of Jim Jones, the prophetic emphasis of David Koresh, the total zeal of the Heaven's Gaters) with the bad things that resulted. But these bad things had nothing to do with the good, excepting that they were offered as bait. The bad comes because of other, completely unrelated reasons and causes having to do with abject evil. Can you see the power of Satan over us in such after-effects and "guilt by association" for the church at large? And how about you or me? We discern something wrong in excess, but are we over-reacting into deception ourselves?

This is the human condition, and we are kidding ourselves if we think we are up to the task of sorting it out.

Jer 8:11 (NIV) They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious...

Jer 13:23 (NIV) Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?..

The need for Salvation becomes ever more stark with spiritual clarity; when we realize that we are debauched through and through.

Ro 7:24 (NIV) What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Where God has led us in these meditations is to remember the gospel. Life through DEATH! There is no cure short of God's prescription. And if we follow Jesus in spiritual experience through death, burial, and resurrection, remember there were 3 days in-between.

In this we see the central "chord" of God's wisdom, His master stroke, His favorite chorus. It is not something man came up with, or even readily agrees with.

Heb 10:9 (NAS) ..."He takes away the first in order to establish the second."

Thus, rather than "tweak" us with some counseling or self-improvement, He "takes away" or "does away with" completely. Then He does a new thing... but only then.

God wants us to give up our lives like a seed buried. And the sprout does not come up right away. There are three days of waiting...

If takes faith!

But then you see the sprout come up from what was just plain dirt, and you have a "firstfruits" joy of realization that God will indeed be faithful to His promise.

Mk 4:27 (NIV) "Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how."

Lord, we pray that you would heal us completely so that we can respond to You as You intended, without past deception over-swing stiltedness. Amen.

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