Lately I’ve been pondering how easy it is to be self-deceived! Self deception is insidious and hard to detect. Think about it…if you come to the realization that you are self-deceived about something, then you are no longer self-deceived!
What actually got me thinking about this was 2 different situations I am aware of….a family we know thinks of themselves as very giving, generous, and selfless. Yet, ironically, others who know them have the opposite opinion, and think of them as selfish, stingy, and self-seeking. Another couple we know appear to see themselves as modest, humble, and approachable. Yet, we see them as rather uppity, and we definitely would not feel at ease approaching them with certain things.
Of course, I am giving you examples of self-deception that I see in others! That’s part of the point! We don’t see our own self-deception. We are blind to it. Like a blind spot in our mirror while driving our car, we have spiritual blind spots as well.
The church of Laodicea in Revelation chapter 3 was sorely self-deceived with a major blind spot. Their self-evaluation was drastically different from how Jesus evaluated them! They saw themselves as rich and in need of nothing. While Jesus saw them as wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked! (3:17) – Yikes!
Can you face the fact that you have blind spots? What you see as a personal strength, others may actually see as a weakness! Maybe you see yourself as confident…but others see you as arrogant. Maybe you see yourself as clever…but others see you as sly. Maybe you see yourself as having a strong work ethic…but others see you as neglectful of your family, with warped priorities.
I’m also reminded of Matthew 7, verses 1-5:
1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
It often seems like the only point that people draw out of these verses is “don’t judge others.” They read verse one, and stop. They don’t keep reading. Read all the verses.
Verse 5 actually says we should judge others! – “then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Precisely because of our tendency of self-deception, we need other believers to gently and kindly bring our blind spots to our attention.
However, to “see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”, means we must first pay attention to our own sin! Note verses 3 and 4. You can’t help others unless you first look thoroughly at your own life and deal with your own sins without excuses, rationalization, or evasion! When we have been humbled by our own sinful condition, only then are we in a position to help others face their sins too. I think perhaps the main point of these verses is that:
As the Christian grows in grace, he or she should become more severe in their judgment of themselves, and more lenient in their judgment of others.
Why are we so blinded to our own sin? How can our vision become more clear? Why are we so afraid to face the truth about ourselves? I’ll share some thoughts on those questions in future posts. I’m thinking this will likely be a 3 part post…
Next post here.