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Out of the Closet: Deceiving Ourselves

11 Jun

I have met many people who deceive others but I have never met someone who wishes to be deceived.  All acknowledge that they want to know the truth and do not want to be tricked into believing a lie.  Furthermore, no one I know is willing to readily admit that they may have believed a lie.  It is shameful in a way and exposes a weakness.  Thus most people believe that what they believe is the truth.

But many unwittingly do believe lies.

Our extended family is a bit of a mess at the moment.  A nephew who has dropped hints of homosexuality for years used his college graduation party this last week to fling his closet door open in the presence of all who love him.  He emerged from his closet and his relatives had mere hours, some only a fraction of minutes, to formulate a response.

One uncle, only hours before the party, threatened to not show up on moral grounds.  He did not believe that homosexuality was right and did not want to appear to be condoning it.  His stance appeared hypocritical and narrow-minded even to me who also believes homosexuality is wrong.  What made it seem so hypocritical was it was merely his opinion.  It was not based on anything besides his perception:  he didn’t think being gay was right but he viewed what he does as right, just because he felt that way.  Unfortunately, there are many other things in his life and in his children’s lives that others could easily point to as being wrong based on some vague understanding of cultural norms.  And there-in, enters the rub.

The rest of the family lined up against him.  Who is he to call the kettle black?    On and on the self-righteous tongue wagging went until all, either politely or pointedly, agreed that the nephew was not doing anything wrong by living a gay life style.  The uncle who refused to accept it was considered to be wrong and needed to be chastised.

I commend my in-laws, nephews and nieces for wanting to be open-minded about something that they are in many ways uncomfortable with though none of them are big enough to admit it-they contend that it does not pulse them one way or another but the fact that they had to think through it exposes this lie.  I suspect they feel rather good about themselves for being willing to accept something they themselves would not do.  They feel good about themselves for they have not judged but accepted my nephew for his differences.  More importantly, they feel SAFE because they have eliminated through their tolerance any possibility of the finger being pointed at them in the future.   They went home congratulating themselves for taking such a loving stance opposed to the narrow minded one that insisted some sort of moral line was being crossed.

As for me, I sought to remain outside of the conversation because it was obvious no one was really trying to figure out the truth and it was therefore pointless to enter the debate.  Each had assumed they already knew what truth is.  Each was convinced of it.  Yet obviously one of the opposing sides has to be deceived because both can’t be right.  The strange thing is, if I have any discernment at all, all of them on both sides are deceived.

We all want to know the truth but what we want more often is for our pleasures to be granted and we get all bristly when someone wants to stand in our way.  People tote tolerance because they realize what goes around, comes around.  If I take the high road here, they might come back at me with the same high road.  So they all agree to allow everyone to do as they please.  Yet we each have this unexplained need to live rightly.  The only way to do that and allow people to live differently is to remove any moral grounds and replace it with something different-what makes one happy.

We welcome truth when it is on our side and dismiss it when it points the finger at us.  When it accuses us, we would prefer to live in a lie than accept truth.  One cannot reason with a stubborn heart bent on pursuing what they want.  They will find a way to justify their course in their conscience because nothing is more sacred to them than achieving what feels pleasing.

The truth however is often uncomfortable.  It will make us unhappy at times.  We love truth when it enlightens us but hate it when it accuses us.  To truly be happy, one must love truth itself, not how it affects us.  Deception happens when we regard what we love to be truth.

The folly of my family is probably obvious to most of you reading this but my folly is probably not.  I have found that there is no thought that I hold dear that should not be minutely examined.  Where have I allowed myself to be deceived?  What principle, right or pleasure do I cling to so tenaciously that the thought of releasing them makes me ill or despondent?  Why?  Look closely at what you love and determine how you guard it and why you guard it… never assume that the father of lies could not deceive you, even you, holy and blessed by God our Father!  Be careful, circumspect in all things, lest you fall.

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8 Comments

Posted by on June 11, 2013 in Discernment, Spiritual Growth

 

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8 responses to “Out of the Closet: Deceiving Ourselves

  1. dinkerson

    June 11, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Powerfully and kindly said. This is a good challenge for all of us. It’s tough to navigate between judgement and disapproval, between disapproval and kindness, and between kindness and honest adherence to our perception of right and wrong.
    And all this with not necessarily a mind open to foolishness, but open to biblical worldview corrections.

     
    • Kris

      June 11, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      Thanks. My goal in this post was to confront myself and any others with a willing ear about the subtle dangers of being deceived. My nephew just happened to be a current example which provided three responses to the same topic with equal deception occurring on all sides. I didn’t intend to address homosexuality and our response to it….that would be a much more complicated post for me! I think that whatever we love and want to the point that we find ourselves defending the pursuit of….those are our natural blind spots and the areas we are most likely to become deceived. Similarly, anytime we feel righteous indignation (which is different from just being angry at or opposed to evil), like my in-law did, there is likely an area of deception functioning as well. I view tolerance as another form of deception, a means by which people secure the freedom to pursue the things they love without judgement.

      As for my nephew, it is a difficult thing to not make his sexuality a talking point because everyone else insists on talking about it. Perhaps someday, if wisdom should find me, I’ll write about how I navigate through it. Suffice to say, I make it my goal to show him the love I have for him and look for natural opportunities (not forced ones) to candidly talk to him-not about homosexuality-but about his need for a Savior. In this I am patient because I have seen countless times that if I am, eventually a conversation will naturally arise and my patience earns me a respectable hearing.

      Thanks for taking the time to give me feedback!

       
  2. lessonsbyheart

    June 12, 2013 at 6:55 am

    May your heart for your nephew speak loudest of all. It is possible. I have an aunt who never judged, criticized, or condemned some pretty horrible behavior on my part, but continued to love me and look for opportunities to share Jesus with me. It took a few decades, but her efforts paid off! 🙂

    \o/

     
    • Kris

      June 13, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      I have an aunt who did the same and I use her as a model for my own behavior. I found refuge in her because she always seemed genuinely interested in me and though I can’t imagine she thought the things I did as a youth were acceptable, she never mentioned it, only listened and loved me. At times she would gently ask me questions but refrained from answering them for me. Had she weighed in on my behavior the bond probably would have been broken. She was the only Christian in my extended family.

      As a Christian, I often feel compelled to call out sin but as I grow older in my faith I find that I am often content with being patient for misery to have its way with others, as it did for me. There are times when I engage in debates, challenge people’s assumptions and ‘call the kettle black’ but it is usually because I sense the discussion could be beneficial. I try to never engage in something of the sort just to make my point heard….most people know what my point is already anyways.

       
      • lessonsbyheart

        June 13, 2013 at 11:52 pm

        :). You’re wise. I used to always voice my opinion. It’s only been the last couple of years that I’ve learned to let the Holy Spirit do His job…and stay out of it.

        Great post. Thanks again for sharing.

        \o/

         
  3. Daniel Scott

    June 13, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    This is hard to read because of my older brother doing the same thing but through subtle hints. I actually found out by reading a note that he wrote to my parents. Keep up the prayers, nourishment from the Word, and posts. They are all challenging in their own ways. Thank you!

     
    • Kris

      June 13, 2013 at 10:07 pm

      I’m so sorry Daniel. It is painful to watch people you love not follow Christ and worse yet if they profess to but walk in a way contrary to it. I don’t know which camp your brother falls into but either way, I understand the pain it causes the believing relative.

      I do not think only homosexuality puts us in such awkward, painful situations. My two sisters live utterly carnal lives….I have faced this same dilemma with my nephew before but in the form of baby showers for unwed mothers, very ill-advised weddings, live-in arrangements, decisions my relatives make about parenting….they all require that delicate balance of loving the person and being patient with the sin until God works repentance in their heart…and doing so without appearing to condone evil. Jesus managed to do it, and He’ll teach us how to as well, usually situation by situation.

      I’ve prayed for your brother and for you too.

      Blessings.

       
  4. kingintraining

    July 18, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Ahhh great wisdom…I often have to stop myself and listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and just shut it when He tells me to. I often need a muzzle on this mouth! hehe

     

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