This morning at breakfast, I happened to mention to my husband how much I had been enjoying the beautiful vine with luxuriant purple flowers that adorns our back fence. Previously unnoticed, it is draping along the top of the fence behind our stand of cannas. Since purple has always been my favorite color, these blooms have been a delight these past few weeks, particularly now (autumn) when a few other plants have already passed their prime. To my great surprise, when I asked him the name of that vine, my husband responded that it was an invasive plant that he needs to eradicate as soon as possible, as it will overtake all the other plants in the yard and choke the life out of them. I was properly horrified! “How can that be?,” I thought to myself.
The spiritual lesson instantly registered in my heart: more often than not, deception initially presents itself as something attractive, innocent, life-enhancing, and even beautiful. However, as it progresses, it proves toxic and chokes the life out of everything around it. Its appeal causes us to ignore prudent investigation of how it operates or what effects it may ultimately have on our lives. After all, if we initially recognized deception as deception, it would (by definition) no longer be deception, would it?
Although we hardly need to re-visit the oft-cited example of Eve yielding to the lust of the eye, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life in the Garden of Eden, we certainly would benefit from applying the same lessons to our own lives, communities, and cultures. Even a cursory glance at the news reports exposes the rampant hatred, malice, selfishness, lying, and exploitation that run completely counter to Scriptural principles of integrity and personal accountability for our misdeeds. Our media reflect who we are: it appears we worship ourselves, our own conveniences, our own opinions, and our sexuality. We accuse others of the very things of which we ourselves are guilty. Are we even recognizable any longer as a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles?
While no one may deliberately purpose in his or her heart to deceive and exploit others (at least not initially), when we fall prey to deception, we find ourselves choking in the throes of our own demise. What initially seemed appealing, or even beneficial, proves toxic. This principle holds true both personally for individuals and corporately for nations.
I praise God that He is the source of hope for me, for my family, for my community, and for my nation. Jesus is faithful to unmask deception in our lives and deliver us from every darkness. Repentance is a gift we desperately need God to give us; happily, He gives that gift quite willingly, as He does not want us to perish! I pray He exposes deception in my life, unmasks anything toxic, and empowers me to repent; He is able to deliver me and heal me, and He is my only hope! I pray similarly for my country and its leaders.
Jesus, send Your Word and heal us, and deliver us from our destructions! (see Psalm 107:20)
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NKJV