Deception: the fact or condition of being deceived
Deceive: to make (a person) believe what is not true
That is how Webster’s Dictionary defines those two words; I just use the word, “tricked”.
Professional magicians get paid large amounts of money for shows where they deceive and trick people into believing things a person’s rational mind knows simply cannot be true. And it is really hard to convince a person otherwise; while it may be absolutely clear to you what is happening and so you try to have an intelligent conversation with the person pointing out the fallacy of their belief, they still come back to you with, “But I know what I saw.” That is how deception works.
The last few weeks I have worked with a number of people whose spouses are being deceived. These folks come to me with deep frustration because they are incapable of getting their loved ones to see and acknowledge what is so plainly clear to them. The frustration is compounded by the fact that their spouses say they are Christians. So what I hear is: “I simply do not understand how they could do that. Why can’t they see what they are doing is wrong? As Christians, how can they possibly believe what they are doing is okay?” The answer to their questions is one word: deception.
This week I came to a new awareness of the power of deception as I read the story of David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11 and 12. David was the chosen one of God, the anointed King of Israel, “a man after God’s own heart”. However, one evening he sees a woman bathing and finds her alluring. He brings her to the palace and commits adultery; then apparently gets a good night’s sleep. Subsequently, he is informed she is pregnant so he schemes to bring her husband, Uriah, home from the battlefield to have sex with his wife so Uriah will think the child is his. When Uriah will not cooperate, David arranges for Uriah to be killed on the battlefield; and apparently gets a good night’s sleep. Finally he marries Bathsheba, moves her into the palace; and apparently gets a good night’s sleep.
Wait! This is all wrong! How could God’s man do all these horribly sinful, destructive things with such intention and calm? Because he was deceived – a lot. In chapter 12 we find that God sends the prophet Nathan to tell the King a story about a rich man who stole and killed a poor neighbor’s lamb (although he had many lambs of his own). King David is outraged and declares the man deserves to die; and in the midst of David’s anger, Nathan says four shocking words: “You are the man!” The veil drops, the deception is exposed, the trick revealed. Suddenly David sees all his choices and actions for what they were and under incredible conviction, confesses and repents. (see Psalm 51 for David’s lament)
I have found that you rarely, if ever, can talk a person out of sinful or destructive behaviors. So I encourage people who have loved ones caught in the web of deception to ask the Lord to open the eyes of that person to see all the ways they are being deceived and to allow them to experience all the consequences of their choices. It worked for David….