Twisting the Truth

{AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015}

bible picture

I’ve encountered not only in other people, but also within myself, a tendency to twist the truth to my own advantage. I’m talking about the truth of God’s word. When confronted with an opinion that differs from my own, I tend to obstinately defend and guard my precious beliefs from what feels like an attack from outside. And like I said, I’ve seen that this is something we humans generally do. Why is it so hard for us to just be objective?

Well, we’ve spent perhaps years of our lives nourishing those beliefs, until they’ve become a part of who we are (we think). Giving up those beliefs would be like giving up a part of ourselves.

Another consideration is that we have a strong desire to be accepted socially. If all the people (or at least most) in our church believe a certain way, and we just LOVE that church and those people, we will probably try to avoid offending anybody by contradicting their opinions, even if we might initially disagree with them. The desire to fit in is so great, even in adults, that we eventually end up abandoning our search for the truth and settle for what the group accepts to be true, whether it is or not.

Or…perhaps we’re just lazy. Maybe it takes too much effort to really look into a matter to find out what’s true and what isn’t. Too much work. We’d rather watch TV.

Whatever the reason, truth seeking is rare. Opinionating is not. It’s easy to have an opinion. Most of the time, we form our opinions, not based on honest research that we have done, but based on what everyone else in our group of choice thinks is correct. We absorb other people’s opinions (which they got from someone else, and on and on…) through osmosis. With not much analyzing involved.

Or, if we do analyze things, what criteria do we use? Don’t we usually start from our own vantage point, and using our own experiences, attempt to come to some reasonable conclusion–on our own? What about the Bible? Oh yes, we refer to the Bible often enough, as Christians. But do we really know it? Is it possible that we might be twisting it to our own advantage? Maybe what the Bible is REALLY saying is not what we think it is saying. Maybe we’re living in an “alternative reality,” in which we’ve convinced ourselves, or others have convinced us, that when the Bible says THIS, it means THAT, and we accept it as true because we WANT it to be true.

But how can we continue to live like this? Being dishonest with the word of God, not obeying Him because we don’t WANT to obey Him, and then convincing ourselves that our actions are biblical because we’ve somehow “discovered” that God didn’t really mean what He ACTUALLY said.

I want to issue a challenge, not only to others, but to myself as well:

Let us seek the truth, with the determination to ACCEPT that truth, whatever it may be, regardless of whether or not it conflicts with our preferences and presuppositions.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”

2 Corinthinas 10:3-6

8 thoughts on “Twisting the Truth

  1. Dear Jessica,

    Thank you so much for this thought-provoking post. I can really relate to the following two paragraphs;

    <we’ve spent perhaps years of our lives nourishing those beliefs, until they’ve become a part of who we are (we think). Giving up those beliefs would be like giving up a part of ourselves.
    < Another consideration is that we have a strong desire to be accepted socially. If all the people (or at least most) in our church believe a certain way, and we just LOVE that church and those people, we will probably try to avoid offending anybody by contradicting their opinions, even if we might initially disagree with them. The desire to fit in is so great, even in adults, that we eventually end up abandoning our search for the truth and settle for what the group accepts to be true, whether it is or not.

    As I shared with you, right now, modern CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) issue has been my issue and God is challenging me (who was raised up in the CCM centered church all my life!–)and shaking my preconceptions about church music.

    Yes, it is not easy to be taught and be corrected by His word. I find it especially difficult when confronted by Him and guided to say something publicly regarding the issue which is not popular at all among modern Christians. I cherish all human relationships. I don't want to offend fellow believers. I don't want to lose my "popularity"….Oh, that's the problem! This flesh desire must be nailed to the cross!

    I want your prayer be my prayer as well, Jessica.

    "Let us seek the truth, with the determination to ACCEPT that truth, whatever it may be, regardless of whether or not it conflicts with our preferences and presuppositions."

    Amen.

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  2. ‘A tendency to twist the true to my own average’.More or less,we believers also have it. I feel sometimes maybe on the earth,no church can be perfect in His eyes. It’s like that we can not obey God by ourseleves.

    I know that one church which is known by sincere obedience to one doctorine,ignores other one.And often the reason is that it is hard for the members to accept,or considered as unrealistic constraint.

    Our society gave us many kinds of freedom.It contains the freedom of not choosing godly value,nor seeking truth.Surely I appriciate that we have freedom of faith,but it inflicts much responsibility on us to choose how we live.

    Seeking truth often means not to live like other ‘normal’ people.I think that it maybe price we have to pay,and Christ is our portion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, Sanae, there is no perfect church, just like there is no perfect person–you are so right about that! Though, I think that God WANTS us to be perfect :
    “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

    12 For the PERFECTING of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

    13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a PERFECT man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

    14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

    15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

    16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

    Ephesians 4:11-16

    It seems to me, as I read verses such as these, that God’s goal is for us to be perfect, like Christ. We are no longer to be children, but to GROW UP, as it says in verse 15. However, growing up takes time, and comes with many hard lessons that we must learn in the process. I think that we will not be fully perfect until heaven. But until then, we must press forward toward greater obedience to God, always asking His guidance as we read what He has revealed to us in His word. As you said so well, “we can not obey God by ourselves, ” and we have “much responsibility on us to choose how we live.”
    Your friend,
    Jessica

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  4. Dear Jessica, I’ve been wanting to share something with you, but also pose a question. At prayer mtg this last Wednesday, the speaker spoke on Ephesians 5:1-2 and backed up to 4:26-32 to see why the therefore in 5:1 was there for. His message sparked alot of good debate within the family. For the most part, we agreed with what was said, but this is the comment that got us talking. Anger is sin.
    Is anger sin? Eph. 4:26 says, Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath.
    The speaker also quoted from vs. 31 and 32 to support the ‘anger is sin’ statement. Would you consider this to be a twisting of the truth? There’s righteous anger as well. Can only Jesus have righteous anger because He was the only one without sin? Is wrath the same as anger? Well, that’s more than one question, 🙂 but do you have any thoughts?
    Your friend, Ruthie

    Liked by 1 person

    • So good to hear from you, Ruthie!
      Well, I’m going to do my best to answer your question with what I think.

      Okay, so is anger sin? My first and strongest thought is “No, it is not necessarily a sin.” And here’s why: Anger is both an EMOTION and a REACTION. We cannot always control our INITIAL EMOTIONS to events that happen in our lives, but we CAN control our CONSEQUENT REACTIONS.

      For example: A drunk driver kills your child. This has never happened to me, but I think that I would feel very angry (and a lot more besides). How could one not? However, I can CHOOSE to harbor and dwell on those feelings of anger, or I can choose to forgive, each time I catch myself feeling angry. This would probably be very hard, though, and something I would struggle with greatly; I would have to continuously “let go” of those completely justified feelings of anger in order to not allow them to overcome me and control my life.

      On the other hand, if I WAS to allow those feelings to rule over me, I might do something insane, like, I don’t know, buy a gun and kill that person in revenge, which would be reacting in anger, and that would not be right.

      Cain struggled with anger against his brother Abel. The Bible says, (starting with the latter part of verse 4, chapter 4, of Genesis) “…And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Here, we see that God simply asks Cain, “Why are you angry?” He does not say that his anger is sin, but warns him that it could LEAD to sin; however, Cain is told that he must RULE OVER IT. Sometimes our feelings of anger are justified, as in the example I gave about the drunk driver, and sometimes our feelings of anger are NOT justified, as in the example I gave from the Bible about Cain and Abel. But, we must RULE OVER those feelings, and not let them control our choices. Cain, as the story continues (and as you are very familiar with, I’m sure), did NOT CONTROL his reaction, and he ended up killing his brother. Up until that point, sin was merely “[lying] at the door” but had not fully been engaged; but after Cain chose to ACT upon those feelings with violence, he allowed that sin to enter in through the door.

      I think the verses from Ephesians 4:26, 31 are talking about not BEING angry in our behavior, but I do not think they are specifically targeting FEELING angry. Yes, feeling angry can quickly lead to angry behavior, so we must be cautious; but, it doesn’t have to be so, if we catch ourselves soon enough, and do not allow those feelings to be translated into sinful ACTIONS. We must not dwell on angry feelings, either, because they will eventually materialize into action; but, we can not always control our initial feelings of anger toward injustices (like Planned Parenthood selling aborted baby parts…) I believe those appropriate emotions of anger toward wickedness should compel us to react, not with revenge, but with strong defense of the innocent, as is proper. Instead of harboring bitterness, we should transform those feelings of anger into intolerance of sinful destruction of human lives while loving those who are currently caught in its net.

      I hope this makes sense. Please, if you have any more comments or questions, I would love to hear them!
      From Jessica

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  5. Thankyou so much, Jessica, for sharing your time and thoughts with me. I really appreciate it, and you make perfect sense 🙂 We came to the same conclusions about the anger issue. Your Bible reference to Cain and Abel is excellent. I will mention it to the kids tomorrow.
    My prayers continue to be with you and your family as your time draws near. God bless you all! Ruthie

    Like

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