by Noel Bouché
We have a tendency to think of lies as a category that is clear, distinct, and easily distinguished from truth. There are lies over here, separate and apart from the truth which is over here.
The problem with this tendency, ironically, is that it makes us more susceptible to believing lies.
Lies, you see, do not exist in a vacuum; indeed, they cannot exist apart from truth. A lie is not a factual inaccuracy to be corrected, but a distortion of what is true—distort meaning literally “a twisting,”—and there must be something preexisting to twist. A lie is truth in partial, twisted, and hence warped form.
That is what makes lies so sinister—they’re designed to pass the sniff test by offering us truth, slightly tweaked. And design implies intent; specifically, an intent to deceive (a word originally meaning “to take from”).
A lie is not a harmless untruth, but a weaponized partial truth intended to take from us.
Or, put another way, “to steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). Our Adversary is a deceiver (Revelation 12:9).
In the Bible, we don’t see the enemy of our souls boldly proclaiming, “God said that, but I say this!” Instead we hear whispers: “Did God really say…?” (Genesis 3:1); “Does Job fear God for no reason?” (Job 1:9); “If you are the Son of God…” (Matthew 4:3). The “father of lies” is himself constrained by the parameters of truth, yet always working to twist, distort, bend that truth—all with an intent to wound our hearts, divide us from each other, and separate us from the One Who is Truth (John 14:6).
“I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the One we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” —2 Corinthians 11:3-4
The deceiver lies to us about what we should do and then about who we are. And we “put up with it!”
How did Jesus, Truth embodied, teach us to stand firm against the enemy’s schemes? By holding fast to the word of life (Philippians 2:16). Jesus modeled this for us when He was tempted in the wilderness by responding to each lie (distortion) with resolute truth (Matthew 4:1-11), and He gave us a weapon of our own, the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
What partial truth is affecting you today? What actual truth can you respond with?
In the next post, we’ll explore ways truth is twisted by evil and some common distortions about sex that rob us of the freedom found in God’s better story.
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