A Thought on Deception

I’ve been going through my e-mail tonight, and I came across a couple of posts that got my attention.  One was from a new subscriber to my blog (always a surprise and thrill and humbling experience) by Keri Williams   who wrote a very compelling article about her son.  I urge you to check it out as she brings up some very good questions.  The other was from my friend, Greg,  over at A Particular Baptist Blog who shared something from someone I have a fondness for who also had something quite interesting to say.  If you read them, you’ll probably wonder what the connection is, or at least how I got my connection between the two.  They don’t  bring up the same points; at least, not on the surface, and in that way they’re a lot like life in that so much of life is connected in ways that we can’t see.

Both are about perception, but while one leads to something that’s true, the other doesn’t, at least not to something that lasts, and it’s this that has put me to writing this post.  How do we know if we’re real?  Seems like a silly question, doesn’t it?  Of course I’m real!  What do you mean?  I know I’m real.  My question to you is really?  Do you know for a fact that you’re real?  What about other people do you know if they’re real? How do you know?  Is there a way to find out?  Now that I’ve got you wondering where I’m going with this, and perhaps confused as well, let me ask you another question: are you real all the time?  Can we be both “real” and “un-real?”

People refer to it in a number of ways.  Some people call it putting on a face.  We all know what I’m talking about even if we all know of it by different names.  At it’s deepest core, when we’ve drilled through all the many layers of motive and reason, and the many, many ways in which we try to hide, cover and camouflage them, we all come to the place where we must face our deception; either that of ourselves, or others, but in most cases, I venture to say both.  That’s certainly the case with me, and I’d be willing to bet it’s the same with you.  We can mention levels of deception if you want, but isn’t that deception, too?  It’s funny that only we, humans, give degrees to what we do.

The thought in one of the posts (you can guess which one or read them and know) was about being a “believer.”  In one a “believer” sees himself as he is, not what others say he is, and clings to it.  The other is a “believer”  in experience, but not in substance, and yet many who’ve had the experience live in the “belief” that they have the substance when in truth they’ve never had it.  I can imagine you reading this and thinking “huh?” right now.  Yet it is true.  Maybe it will help to think of a plant or a tree.  You see them all the time, and they all have the same appearance, and yet you can’t see the root of any of them.  Isn’t it amazing how two trees can be standing side by side, and for years even look the same, and yet one be dead, and the other alive?

It would seem that the conclusion is that no one can tell who is a “believer” and who is not, and that even we ourselves can’t tell, but is that true?  Have you ever walked in the forest with someone who really knows it?  Have you ever really been in the company of someone who is very knowledgeable about their particular field?  How about you?  Can you spot a fake?  Can you tell when someone is pretending?

To the trained eye deception is not the invisible wraith that we like to think it is, and it most certainly isn’t to the one who gave us eyesight.  Now for the real truth, there is a difference between human beings and trees.  As human beings we know when we’re being deceptive and-we may have our reasons (even good reasons)-in choosing to be so, but we do know, and the one who made us…..He knows, too.



5 thoughts on “A Thought on Deception

  1. Keri Williams

    Wayne, In some ways I wonder if one of the great deceptions of Christianity today is the claim that “we can’t know” what’s in someone’s heart. Of course, on some level, that’s true, but shouldn’t our Christianity “show?”. Shouldn’t it be obvious? And if it’s not, is that real Christianity? I do understand that only God knows the heart, and that we need to extend grace, but what if, “God knows my heart,” is an excuse, a self-deception with scary eternal consequences?

    1. Wayne Augden Post author

      Keri, you bring up a good point. I think the church today has propagated the belief that we can’t know what’s in someone’s heart, but that’s a falsehood-a deception-in and of itself. You’re right in that our Christianity should show. It should be obvious. Sometimes I think we forget that we are all sinners, and that we’re all on the transformation road, in the process of becoming. We choose self-deception. To be honest, I don’t think a true Christian is capable of self-deception because the Holy Spirit will not allow him to deceive himself. He may try to deceive others for whatever reason, but he knows within himself what he is doing, and I believe that the Holy Spirit will make him so miserable he will find no joy until he comes clean. Real Christians are aware of their sin, they pray over their sin, they repent, and seek forgiveness, but they don’t say they have no sin. I believe when we all come before God none of us are going to be surprised at His judgment. None of us are going to be able to walk away saying, “Well, I thought I was.”

  2. EddyEd

    Deception is a funny thing, in that much sooner than later, it’s revealed. I can’t always say that I spot a phony/liar right off the bat, but the Bible does say that we will know them by their fruits.

  3. mtsweat

    Good thoughts Wayne (asking wife to pinch for verification… ouch! Real here). Humor aside, we are definitely capable of hypocrisy… all of us. I shudder to realize that our God knows not only our every deed… but the motivation behind them. If we take just one aspect, that of unconditional love that we’re called to have for all, even our enemies, consider what drives our efforts on these we seek to love. To often, when checked, I fear there may be something self-oriented and self-gratifying in the works. God bless, good friend.


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