Self-Deception Topical Study

<p><strong><span class="heading-lg">Self-Deception in Scripture</span></strong></p><ul><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><a href="">Genesis 3:6-7</a>, the tree of good and evil</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Jeremiah 2:34-35</a>, "On your skirts is found the lifeblood of the innocent poor, though you did not catch them breaking in. Yet in spite of all these things you say, 'I am innocent.'"</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Jeremiah 5:30-31</a>, the prophets prophesy falsly</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 36:1-2</a>, "They flatter themselves in their own eyes that their iniquity cannot be found out and hated"</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Revelation 3:17</a>, "You say, 'I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.' You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked"</span></li></ul><p><span class="body-copy"><span class="heading-sm"><strong>Warnings</strong></span></span></p><ul><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Matthew 7:21-23</a>, only those who do the will of the Father in heaven will enter the kingdom</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Matthew 23:24-26</a>, "First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean."</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">James 1:22-24</a>, they look at themselves in the mirror and immediatly forget what they look like</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">1 John 1:8</a>,&nbsp;"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us"</span></li></ul><p><strong><span class="heading-sm"><span class="heading-lg">POINTS TO PONDER</span></span></strong></p><p><span class="body-copy">We all know there is such a thing as self-deception because we can spot it in other people. Once in a while, particularly when we have been jolted in some way, we can spot it in ourselves. The lies we tell ourselves are sometimes sad, sometimes funny, and often downright scary.</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">Self-deception is almost always an ingredient in addiction and hypocrisy.</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">Why do alcoh<span class="body-copy">olics and other drug-abusers typically go through years of denial? Why do some spouses miss all the signs of infidelity in their partner? How do their unfaithful partners manage to sleep at night? How </span>do the men who beat up women get themselves to believe that the women had it coming? Why do some of the women believe it too?</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">Self-d<span class="body-copy">eception is hard to spot in ourselves because it covers its own tracks. As Lewis Smedes put it, "first we deceive ourselves, and then we convince ourselves that we are not deceiving ourselves." </span></span><span class="body-copy-sm">(Smedes, Lewis.&nbsp;<em>A Pretty Good Person</em>, Harper &amp; Row 1990, p. 74.)</span><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy"> But there are verbal cues. Suppose you've done something that's borderline and find yourself saying things like this: "I&#39;m only human." "Everybody does it." "You have to sell what people are buying." "I did what I had to do" "If I don&#39;t do it, somebody else will." "Nobody is hurt by what I do." "I was only following orders." "Nobody&#39;s perfect." These expressions are small alarms going off. They tell us it&#39;s later than we think. </span>They tell us it&#39;s probably time for confession of sin.</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">The scary thing abou<span class="body-copy">t self-deception is not just that it warps our thinking and puts the best face on our sins and miseries. The scary thing about self-deception is that it can insulate us against Jesus Christ. When our achievements secure us, when our reputation precedes us, when our pride defends us and pumps us up whenever we lose pressure&mdash;that is, when we become our own creators, our own law-givers, our o</span>wn centers of meaning and power&mdash;then the thought that we need a Savior starts to sound quaint. It sounds uninteresting.</span></p>