“You really need to be careful about your sarcasm.”

HowToGiveYourselfAnInstantSelfDeceptionRealityCheckI smirked when I heard it.  Not because I disagreed—he was right—but because the man telling me this had a sarcastic streak that sometimes made him acidic to the soul.  It was actually pretty hard to receive his comment because even his comment was dripping with sarcasm.  And he was right!

Have you ever experienced that?  Have you ever had to confront someone on their behavior and actually had them deny your words?  Certainly you have.  If they were Christians, you might have even heard their response “baptized” in hyper-religious God talk.  We’re good like that.

We’ve been talking about everyone’s favorite subject for the past few weeks: sin.  We may not like to confront sin, but we certainly like to do it.  But part of the problem with sin is what we started thinking through last week: sin blinds us to its own existence.

As I heard growing up, “Denial is not a just a river in Egypt”.  We deny the truth to ourselves all the time.  We want to fix everyone else’s problems and somehow are completely blind to our own.  This is another sad effect of sin: self-deceit.  We lie to ourselves so much that we actually start believing it.

  • We deceive ourselves into thinking our gossip is just being “honest”.
  • We deceive ourselves into thinking our mean-spiritedness is just being straightforward (“Just saying”).
  • We deceive ourselves into thinking our problems at work are everyone else’s.
  • We deceive ourselves into thinking all of our friends are self-centered and don’t make time for us.

See what I mean?  We deny the truth to ourselves.  It seems we are the problem.  Just sayin’ 🙂

Jesus said in Matthew 7:1-6:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “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?  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?  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. “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

This is one of those infamously misquoted, misunderstood, and misapplied passages in the New Testament, but specifically, we need to read those verses slowly and carefully.  There’s no question what Jesus is telling us.

We have massive logs (of sin) sticking out of our own eyes, yet we have the clarity to see the teeny, tiny speck of sawdust in another Christian’s eye.  Now let’s be clear: it’s still sawdust.  It’s still sin.  Jesus wasn’t saying their sin wasn’t real.  After all, He did instruct us to remove this plank so we truly have the clarity to remove the speck.

Jesus wasn’t going “light” on sin; He was going heavy on self-deceit.

We oftentimes can’t see our own hypocrisy.  Others can.  It’s another reason why we need each other in the family of faith.  It’s why we need to be in a regularly meeting small group.  We need to be stretched, challenged, and have the opportunity to grow.

If we truly want to become everything God has planned for us to be, we must see ourselves through the lens of honesty and truthfulness.  Only then can we dry up the river of denial.