Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Comforting Fictions

The human heart is desperately sinful. And one of the implications of that truth is that each of us comes fully equipped with a magnificent capacity for self-deception, believing what we wish were true rather than what is. Consider the following comforting fictions, which sooner or later will be revealed for what they are:
  • The United States can borrow more money than any nation ever has, while promising benefits to future generations of Americans that will require more than the sum total of world GDP to satisfy. Yet the US will never go bankrupt, nor will anyone get left holding the bag when it all finally collapses.
  • An Iranian nuke will not be a problem, even though their current President believes that the coming of the 12th Imam (The Mahdi) necessitates world war and Iran is currently the world's leading terrorism sponsor. 
  • Illegal immigration can continue unabated with no ill effects on our nation's existing poor and their ability to find and keep jobs. 
  • Homosexual marriage will not be devastating socially, nor will it be a Trojan horse for those wishing to drive the Church and its teachings from the public square. 
  • Scaling back American defense spending won't ever lead to instability and an increase in warfare. Nor will cutting back aid to Israel, Taiwan, and South Korea. 
  • Negotiations and, failing that, economic sanctions always serve to contain rogue states. 
  • The rising number of Muslims in Sweden, France, Holland, and England, will never lead to Islamic revolutions in those countries. 
Comforting fictions, all. Without a change in direction, all of these things will one day lead to disaster in one form or another. Yet it is not only in the realms of politics and foreign relations that pretty lies are hawked as truth. We all also tell pretty lies to ourselves in our spiritual lives. Consider these:
  • "No one will ever know." Yet God will, and you will. And the Holy Spirit within in you will fill your heart with guilt until you repent. Moreover, it's still true that "truth will out," and even the secret things have a way of becoming public. 
  • "Everybody sins." This is true, but too often this is not a recognition of what the Bible says, but an excuse for my behavior of which I'm unwilling to really repent.
  • "You're young. I thought that back when I was young too." This is insidious, because while there really are passions and ideas we mature out of as we grow in the faith, it's also true that sometimes our supposed "maturity" is really spiritual coldness masquerading as such.
  • "I can do this, and it won't hurt me." This is the driving idea behind prayerlessness, absence of Bible reading, refusal to attend church, and similar ideas. We do them and wonder why our spiritual life soon is as dry as the Sahara.
  • "I'm the exception." I hear this one expressed, usually implicitly, but sometimes explicitly by people in premarital counseling all the time as professing Christian men and women try to explain why they are okay with living and sleeping with their affianced. Yet it is a lie. God is not mocked, his commands are given for our good and His glory, and ignored to our destruction. 
I'm sure there are more. Maybe some of you can supply some others. But the point is not to simply recognize the lies we tell ourselves, but having seen them, to flee and live in the truth. What pretty lies are you living under?

No comments: