James 1:16 NLT
'So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.'
None of us is free from the experience of deception. A good friend of mine was consistently deceived by their spouse, a deception that not only destroyed a marriage but demolished the inner confidence and self-worth of my friend. I have never known such an aching void within once I realise I’ve been deceived, from my perspective. I’m overcome by a sense of my own stupidity, since I feel as if I might have known better. Anger and sadness assert themselves, while no words can do justice to the inner sense of wretchedness I feel.
Yet, if I toughen up in an attempt to avoid such deception, my heart grows cold and distrustful, even of God. Indeed, the promises of God can only be grasped by those prepared to allow themselves to be deceived. It may well be the reason that God’s metaphor for his relationship with the Church is that of a bridegroom with his bride. Marriage is perhaps the riskiest relational trust we ever deliberately invest into. After all, within marriage we are completely exposed – our physical, emotional and psychological nakedness is revealed. As such, when this trust is betrayed we feel completely exposed, never knowing what stories are told about us, which narrative of our failed marriage is believed.
Perhaps deception’s greatest deception is then dealt to us. What if the promises of God are untrustworthy? I have approached relationships in an open-handed and open-hearted way, yet I have emerged damaged and confused. What confidence can I have that God will not behave the same? Well, sadly none, apart from the knowledge that God does not double deal and that the very love project was initiated by Jesus, who freely and completely gave himself up to the lies and deception of humanity. There is no shadow side to God – yet we can only acknowledge that by completely entrusting our welfare, our very being, to God directly.
QUESTION: What has been the fruit of the deceptions you have been prey to, or have done yourself? Offer those wounds to Jesus, and ask for forgiveness.
PRAYER: Father God, take out the stony and stubborn heart that is so often within me and give me a new heart and a new spirit, that of your son, Jesus Christ.