Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Old Lies

Matthew 4:1-4, Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

In this Bible narrative the devil used his usual lies.

I spent my vacation in 1984 reading a very absorbing and disturbing book on the subject of evil. It was M. Scott Peck’s, People of the Lie: the Hope for Healing Human Evil. It has been one of the most profound books I have ever read on evil. Peck was a psychiatrist and treated many different psychiatric conditions and he made moral judgments about some people with these psychiatric conditions calling these people “evil”

Peck “gives some identifying characteristics for evil persons. An evil person:

  • Projects his or her evils and sins onto others and tries to remove them from others
  • Maintains a high level of respectability and lies incessantly in order to do so
  • Is consistent in his or her sins. Evil persons are characterized not so much by the magnitude of their sins, but by their consistency
  • Is unable to think from other people's viewpoints.”

I add another characteristic from my non psychiatric experience, denial. Evil persons consistently deny their evil, to the community and themselves. Not only are there evil persons but there are evil groups. I believe that the evil characteristics are the same for the groups, however I think they intensify.

Matthew 4:5-7, Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you,' and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

Where would we find the operatives or people of the lie in our society?

In the market place there are hucksters that become the people of the lie; their lies go to our comfort:

§ Buy my washing machine service contract and you never have to worry about a repair.
§ Your fuel charges will decrease when we drill off shore.
§ The economy will improve with $1200 stimulus for couples.
§ Yes, we have decreased the packaged amount and are keeping the price the same as before for your convenience.

In the political arena, the lie continues with leaders protecting our well being:

§ Our military personnel are receiving the best in medical care on a consistent basis.
§ Yes, we vetoed the partial birth abortion ban because it preserves women’s rights.
§ Tell the public only what we think they should hear.
§ Same sex couple’s marriage is perfectly normal and is good for society.

In the church form, where there should not be a people of the lie, we are shocked by those who minister to us:

§ Clarity is over rated. Shock, obscurity, playfulness, and intrigue often stimulate more thought than clarity.
§ Protected child molesters.
§ Homosexuals should be on the same plain as any other believer; after all they are children of God.

I am too willing to ignore some of the lies that are affecting my life. However, it is wise to for me to take a good look at lies, to examine them fully, and to talk to others about the significance of the lies that haunt my every day existence. The above lies are only a token of the lies confronting the Christian.

Matthew 4:8-11, again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Let the conversation begin.

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