Monday, September 14, 2009
Twisted Truth - A devotional for Monday, 9/14/2009
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9--ESV).
A very common scene at our house involves one child tattling on another. In rushes the first child, eyes full of tears, telling the tale of the betrayals and wrongs committed by one of our other children. Always, without exception, the one telling the story is clearly presented as the victim who simply wanted peace and mutual goodwill. Then along comes the second child and we ask, "is this true? Did you do these things".
[Child two]: "yes"
[Child two]: "because he walked up to me and hit me."
It is so very easy to lie. It comes naturally, almost with no effort at all. We can communicate lies even with our body language, tone of voice, or by choosing to leave out important bits of information. We have a disturbing ability to paint ourselves in the most positive light and to demonize those with whom we are angry.
Yet this problem is not regulated to children. In fact, it is a practice we perfect as adults. Throughout the years it never ceases to amaze me how my words can be twisted by those who are angry with me (or, truly, how I can easily do the same to theirs). My statement "I think your tired and need a break" is changed into "Pastor fired me and does not want me to serve anymore". Even the heartfelt statement of "I love you" is twisted into "Pastor said he hates me". Don't even get me started as to how many times I've sinfully twisted my wife's comments in order to paint myself in a better light. Where does such nonsense come from?
It comes from the deceitfulness of our own hearts. Even as Christians we find it hard to resist the urge of desiring that all of life revolve around ourselves. If we cannot be the hero then we will manipulate the truth to become the victim---whatever it takes to become the admired (or pitied) center of the story we are spinning.
I've found it helpful to ask myself this question: "Is the way I am phrasing this the way the other person would phrase it if they were here?" If not, then most likely I have twisted the truth and drifted into deceitfulness.
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