“But I fear that just as Eve was deceived by the trick of the serpent, your minds are somehow diverted from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3
Many times over the past few weeks the view from any window has been brilliant. The sky was clear with bright sunshine and delicate white clouds. All markers indicated beautiful HOT weather. However, every time I went out it was chilly, chilly, downright cold. If I ventured outside without the proper jacket, I was shaking within minutes. I was deceived by the beautiful sky and faced with the cold reality that it is not yet summer. This deception was small and no harm was done, but deception can have deadly consequences.
“The act of making someone accept as true or valid that which is false or invalid.” This is Merriam-Webster’s definition of deceit/cheating. Some synonyms of deception are to cheat, to burn, to swindle, to deceive, to chain, to pretend, or to deceive. There is a power at work in this world, intentionally tricking, deceiving, misleading. A power determined to separate souls from Jesus for all eternity.
If someone is cheating on your friend, child, relative or spouse, how do you feel? If you know the truth, you realize the act of deception telling them false things that will end up hurting them. How do they feel? You will likely get angry for the pain they felt, and those who were deceived will likely feel loss and shame because the deception conceals the truth and presents a lie instead. On behalf of those we love, we want to face the lie and uncover the truth. We want the light to break through the darkness of deception.
Why is it any different when we see people (outside our immediate circle) struggling with Satan’s deception day after day? We, as followers of Christ, have access to the truth, and we have the power to break through the charade of Satan’s “game.” Too often we act like the priest and the Levite and expect someone else to be the good Samaritan.
When are we going to take this great commission seriously, the one that tells us to spread the good news? When will we realize that if we refuse to intervene when we see others entangled in the mire, it is not seeing the Devil’s scheme? When we get angry with the devil for his mission to mislead, defraud, and burn those around us, we can do something about it. The most effective thing we can do is to pray. Then, after God has spoken to us, we can do something practical, in love, and be the hands and feet of Jesus. *
Is it heartbreaking that the devil’s goal is absolutely to burn people? “Burn” was a popular term for a time that meant someone was being humiliated or insulted. Do we show empathy when we see hurt people from this angle? Dupe is a lighter version of the term deceive. Is it frustrating to know that the devil takes pleasure in deceiving people? The devil knows that the truth of Jesus is too good to deny, so he covers it up and misleads people into thinking his ways are better than the chain-breaking freedom we find in Christ.
Satan doesn’t care about people. He hates everyone. Its only purpose is to hurt. To hurt both the Creator and creation, he will deceive, deceive, burn and chain people into an eternity of suffering and separation from a holy and loving God. What a tragedy.
When you see something that breaks your heart, pray that the power of deception over that person will be broken and the truth of Jesus will be poured out on them. Don’t rush to judge. It is never our responsibility. Statements like “This person will burn in hell for this” or “He will get what he deserves someday” come from a place of condemnation, not love. We’ve heard lines like this; maybe we said things like that. I am guilty of judging instead of loving. How do we reconcile that mindset when Jesus was on the cross, He said forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing? The real Jesus gave his life so that all could join him. The real Jesus put others above himself for their redemption. The savior Jesus fraternized with the needy, so that they could know him.
We cannot continue to stand up like the priest and the Levite, to clean up to help the needy, lest we defile ourselves. How did people come to know Jesus? He revealed Himself through acts of love that met needs and treated the heart with care. When we see people who perhaps accept as true or valid what is false or invalid, let us have compassion, let Christ fight the deceiver, as we reveal him through our compassionate words and works. We who love Jesus have a high calling to love and to serve.
“Which of these three do you think was the neighbor of the man who fell into the hands of thieves? » Luke 10:36
* There are atrocities happening that I don’t talk about. We can only act in the capacity that God reveals to us and trust him to work according to his supreme wisdom.