There is, and has always been; a beautiful, bright, pure light that curls, stretches and reaches out to blanket us. But scattered in that light are spaces of absence; people, places and moments that push that brightness away; some knowingly, some not. Those dark spots are kept cold and strong by one, simple mechanism... deception. It’s a method well established by inflicting countless different types of hardships and lies. When it works, it creates temporary control for those who breed those dark spots. However, notice I said “temporary”; because light is stronger and always has the power to overcome and erase darkness.
Deception, a common trap
When the enemy develops one mode of control in our lives, while deceiving us about where it comes from; if we overcome it, that enemy just reaches around from another place and attaches another one. We spend our time following a mess of strings instead of cutting off the source. The foe continues to chase our mind while we chase our own tail. That technique is thousands of years old. It’s been proven again and again. People spend gobs of time, sometimes entire lifetimes and careers doing the work of the dark side, deception. It puts walls around souls, so it only makes sense that evil would throw tons of resources into hiding themselves and their tactics. If you don’t know who pulls the strings, you can never truly cut them all.
The result of this deception? People, places and things, disguised as harmless, are showing up in our every day experience, causing damage and loss of a control we often can’t even imagine. Some are blatant, constantly putting devilish images and words on display. But many of them look us in the eye with a friendly smile, a warm greeting and an average persona. Meanwhile, their motives and method of operation are as dark as they come.
Behind closed doors and away from (seemingly) friendly encounters, they fight a war against God’s system. They actively, knowingly put up walls around those who are trying to get to God. This is a huge departure from just making mistakes on the road to self improvement; it’s intentional, calculated destruction.
Where it comes from
Deception is not a tool that God gave us. Even though a broken world creates broken people, I can actually testify that we are not created with the breakage we have as adults. In my decades of working with children and families, I spent a lot of time with infants and toddlers. One of the most important things I learned through education and experience is that every child is created as a blank slate. Every infant is completely innocent. Intentional bad behavior is infused. In other words, if a child or adult is choosing to make poor choices, that behavior is something they were given, either by example or other means. Deception is no different.
Why we deceive
Of course there are times when people deceive because they want or need the control, but that comes down to miseducation and imbalance, not natural behavior. One thing I found in my personal experience and in my career working with families is this; out of hundreds I’ve had close experience with, every child or adult who I’ve ever found to be deceptive, to lie or hide something; that person did so out of protection of self or loved ones. There was nothing more; even when their words, faces or actions made it seem that way.
As I’ve said before in Forgiveness pt 3 - Forgiving Yourself (video), we should be sharing many more of our faults and mistakes than we do. But it doesn’t usually happen that way. People misuse that information. We should all be able to be forthcoming about our mistakes, then use that information to help prevent them. But most of the time, we just use the knowledge of each other’s mistakes to bury each other. In other words; instead of destroying poor behavior, we destroy the people who have it. And, as I’m about to highlight, the devil uses that to go completely against the forgiveness Christ set up for us. Just about everyone would do what they need to do to protect against that.
Why the Devil deceives
He’s a... wait... (be Christian, Shawn). Well the devil is just an... (hang on, this is a challenge). Obviously I want to lash out here. I’ve seen the devil’s work closeup. It’s downright ugly, incredibly mean and so intentionally deceptive that I’m struggling right now to find balance in how I describe it.
But really, why would the devil work so hard to both deceive us and get us to deceive each other? Three main reasons:
If the devil can put you to shame in your mind and the minds of others, you become what he wants you to be; either neutralized by guilt, fear and the like; or dead by either your hand or those humans who also believe the deception that people are disposable.
There is no better way to hurt someone than to hurt someone they love. As unreasonably angry as he is with God, the devil wants to hurt God’s children out of vengeance. There’s no better way to soften the ground those children stand on than to fill the spaces between them with deception.
Control. As I said in How the Enemy Works:
“If you can convince your opponent the real you doesn’t exist, you can stand right next to them with a smile on your face and hand on the controls and no one will say no.”
So, in short; while people deceive for human reason like self protection; the devil deceives out of anger, greed and an absolutely insane need for revenge.
How the devil deceives
Ever see a school kid calling out “Teacher! Teacher! My classmate just [insert offense here]!” Notice I said “school kid”; as in, this is a classic attempt for children to try to bring justice to a situation… mmm-because they don’t know the first thing about justice. This is one of the devil’s main tricks and he does this in three main steps (a lot more efficiently than the school kid):
1. He whispers. Constantly telling us things about bad behavior and sin, like “it’s your right to do it”, “you can’t let that person get away with that” and, “you’ll never have consequences”. He puts influence in our lives, constantly reminding us of how easy it is to get what we want and how much we ‘need’ it. Addictive substances are right on the shelf at the store. Porn is just a few search terms and a click away. Releasing anger the way the world teaches us, with vengeance; it’s an easy habit. As the devil will say “it’s right there, all you have to do is...”
2. Once you commit enough bad behavior, he changes roles. Now he becomes the accuser, saying “look what you did!”
3. Once the offense has played out, the Devil does his best to convince us we’re disposable; reminding us of not just the recent offense, but every other sin and every wrong we’ve committed. This is one of his many efforts to convince you the end of your useful life is here, and then pull the cover over what Christ did to rescue us from the trash can of life.
It’s such an outstretched, well established technique that it's quite a popular way of destroying the next person. I’ve seen it myself, as many others have; people acting calmly, slipping in passive aggressive comments or actions that provoke someone without the provoker appearing to do anything wrong. Then, when the person who is pushed gets pushed too far, they lash out. The provoker can ‘catch’ and punish them. It’s a twisted, but often effective way of getting someone to look like the bad seed.
The firewall of deception
There is safety for those who create the deceptions mentioned above. If someone goes through the above scenario of provoking, then lying in wait to punish; it not only makes the predator look like they’ve done nothing wrong; it also makes them look like a hero for just ‘happening’ to catch the one who was provoked. There’s an immediate safety net in the idea that they’re not the bad guy. Then there’s a later safety net when the community sees them as a savior.
There’s another great way for the enemy to put themselves behind a firewall. You can’t effectively fight an enemy you don’t know exists, right? Convincing the world that people like me are crazy is a very safe and effective investment. It doesn’t matter how much information I have about the existence of the spirit, it’s father and it’s main enemy. If my information is neutralized, you don’t get it and you don’t have a chance at a way around the deception and control.
Once these types of systems are established, those who deceive can go on a on creating damage, controlling perceptions, and influencing the actions of everyone involved.
How to break the deception
Fist and foremost is reading the Bible.
If you ever get a lawn mower, I recommend reading and truly absorbing the manual; that is, the little booklet with cute photos of the little stick man getting his body parts cut off. That way, no one will be able to deceive you into losing a hand by telling you it’s cool to clean the blades while they’re spinning.
If you ever get a human body, I recommend reading and truly absorbing the manual; that is, the bible. That way, no one will be able to deceive you into going against God and Christ by telling you it’s cool to be hateful, vengeful, and lacking in forgiveness and inclusiveness.
Another step is to constantly be in communication with God. This gives you consistent practice and eventually discernment over who is actually speaking to you.
Also, speak to the people who are involved in your situation. Don’t just judge them based on filling in the blanks or someone else’s word. That way you’ll nullify the race for the gossiper to get get to you first, to convince you there is no need to seek the information yourself. Giving forum to everyone involved; it levels the playing field and allows the love of a universal family to grow and gain strength.
We have the power to be in charge of what we know about others; both through the truths of the Holy Trinity and through our own communication skills. I don’t just mean to know about someone’s incompleteness or mistakes. I mean to know and act as if each of us is valuable.
There’s a path laid by the son of God. Part of it is to be well informed through the word of God. Another part is to understand and use forgiveness, empathy, inclusiveness and love.
Through that path, we can take back our own right to know what’s going on for ourselves. That gives us a power that, as a community, we’ve not seen with proper strength and consistency in our lifetimes; probably not for thousands of years; maybe not since the days before Adam and Eve met that snake-like character. But that power is one that allows us to build our own proper system of fellowship instead of letting dark, personal agenda do it for us. And I know, if we can get to a place where we truly support each other the way God intends us to; if we can erase these walls between us; we will see and experience things that will blow our minds beyond imagination.
Links mentioned above
Forgiveness pt 3 - Forgiving Yourself (video) - We should all be able to be forthcoming about our mistakes, then use that information to help prevent them.
How the Enemy Works (article) - If you can convince your opponent the real you doesn’t exist, you can stand right next to them with a smile on your face and hand on the controls and no one will say no..
Porn is Okay, Right? (article) - How about a wall that convinces us it's okay to gain pleasure from someone else's pain.
The Bible - What is it and how do I Read? (article, by me, on my photography portfolio) - tips and tricks on how to bring instant calm in almost any situation.
Walls, (1/7) - Filling in the Blanks (and Series Intro) (article) - Series intro. We feel the need to understand our situation to move on, but often times that need backfires.
Walls (2/7) - Technology (article) - We can end a relationship during a TV commercial break, or eat a meal with others while almost never looking up from our phones.
Walls (3/7) - Self Talk (article) - If the influence was as innocent and ineffective as it seems, it would have died off before we ever knew it as everyday life.
Walls (4/7) - Anger and Hate (article) - None of it makes any sense or benefits anyone. And the glue that holds it all together is deception, the kind the Devil uses every day.
Walls (6/7) - Money (article) - Is it bad to be wealthy? The question sounds simple enough, almost as if there should just be a “yes” or “no” answer. But in truth it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Walls (7/7) - The Investments That get us Out (article) - would you want to set up a fort every time you go #2? It takes an initial investment, but it works.
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