Whenever my friend Hud speaks, I listen. Those of you who have read my books can read Hud’s fingerprints all over my text. He’s a deep thinker, a lover of God and people, and his insights really help me navigate this crazy life.
Today he spoke of self-deception. Hmmm. Self-deceiving? Moi?
Hud said this: “The human heart has an almost unlimited capacity to hide the truth from itself if it is too painful.” Oh man! That’s me. I hate pain. Hate hate hate it. So I hide the truth. I’d rather deceive myself than have to experience more pain. Perhaps this is why I long for heaven–that amazing pain-free place.
What does it look like when we self-deceive? Hud says we can only understand our own self-deception (and therefore grow) in the context of community. Look these three things over and see how you do:
- Do I blame other people for my problems? (“Well, I just reacted the way I did because he was so dang mean. It’s his fault, really.”)
- Do I misdirect when I’m confronted? In other words, do I belittle the messenger in my own eyes so I don’t have to listen? (“Oh, well, she doesn’t know me well enough to speak that truth to me.” or “That person has his own sin to deal with. I won’t listen to his words because he’s messed up.” or “I won’t listen to this person’s feedback because the process in which he confronted me is all wrong)
- Do I hide behind morality and religiosity? In other words do I justify myself when someone points out my faults by couching it in Christianese? (“Sure, I said that, but my motives were pure. And besides, look at all the good I do for Jesus. You’re just nit-picking.”)
Ew. I look those over and see how self-deceptive I can be. Oh dear Jesus, help me to be approachable. Help me to listen to the community around me so I know my own blind spots. Help me to see what You are saying to me…the truth, Lord.