How Easy It Is to be Deceived…
In church yesterday we got into a discussion about deception and discernment, and about how sometimes ideas that are not from God tend to seem like they are, tend to seem full of love and peace and power all the right adjectives, when in reality they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. In reality, they are elaborate lies designed to keep us lulled in a life that isn’t truly what God wants for us.
That discussion has been on my mind since then. I think that these sorts of things are easy to say and believe, but it is quite another thing to think about them concretely and wonder in what ways deception is at work in our own lives, and dare I say it—in our own churches!
Thinking on these things reminded me of an experience I had several months ago. I had gone home for a weekend, and Sunday morning my family went to church, as usual. I attended the same Sunday School class I used to attend when I lived at home. I knew the ladies who attended the class moderately well. One lady in particular had been a part of the church for a long time, and she was extremely sweet and wise and compassionate—just the sort of person you’d love to spill your guts to in a moment of crisis, or have as a mentor in your life.
I don’t remember the topic of discussion that Sunday, but I do remember that we went off topic and started discussing other things. Controversial things. And then…this sweet lady who has always had the kindest of dispositions started talking about Romans 1. She started talking about how gays and lesbians are not welcome in this church, because God’s Word says in Romans 1 that their lifestyle is perverse and sinful.
To this day I wish I’d said something, I wish I’d stuck up for my LGBT friends. But I didn’t, and it wasn’t really because I was too afraid. I’ve become accustomed to challenging the status quo, and I would have spoken up except for the fact that I was reeling in shock. I was utterly speechless. I couldn’t believe that this lady, who was always so sweet and kind, loving and gentle…would say such venomous things about those who identify as LGBT.
My point in sharing this story is not to demonize this woman. I’d still say today that she is one of the sweetest ladies I know. My point is to illustrate that even the most terrible deception can come from the mouth of someone you least expect. I never would have thought that person would say words that hurtful. But she did. Even the kindest of souls, the ones who seem most in tune with the will of the Father, can be deceived in unimaginable ways. In the moment, hearing that in the church I’d spent so much of my life attending was shocking. But in retrospect it is sobering, because I realize how easy it truly is to fall into the trap of deception and be led astray by ideas that are not of God.
In the future, I’m going to try to be more aware of that, and continually examine my own heart and remain open to the guidance of the Father.