The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah17:9)
“The easiest thing of all is to deceive oneself; for what a man wishes he generally believes to be true” (Demosthenes).
“We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves” (Goethe).
“Nature never deceives us; it is always we who deceive ourselves” (Rousseau).
“Despite their protestations, it is not clear that men really do want the truth because, after all, it is something with which we find it hard to live” (Neitzche).
“There is nothing worse than self-deception, when the deceiver is always at home with you” (Socrates).
“The Bible has a lot to say about self-deception. One frightening example is given in the Old Testament. King David, a man after God’s own heart, and that was God’s own testimony concerning David. He knew the law of God, the moral standards set by God and binding upon kings and all people in all generations. The same law that condemned adultery and murder. Yet we find him at one point in his pilgrimage totally oblivious, his conscience frighteningly dulled in regards to the adulteress relation with the woman Bathsheba. Then following that the murder of her husband, Uriah, to cover his tracks. That is until the prophet, Nathan convicts him of the reality of his sin (2Samuel 11-12; Psalm 51).
The New Testament also mentions self-deception. In the context of a false profession of faith, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26). Also, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1John 1:8). Many, today, who seem so proud of any possibility of not being deceived, tell us that no one should believe anything which he cannot see with the physical eyes. Then before anything else, they all should give up believing in love.
It is because “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah17:9), that we need an objective truth. We need the infallible, self-authenticating, self-attesting truth of God’s holy word, the Bible. It is by this standard we must judge ourselves, our very own hearts because it is by this standard that God will judge us on that great day. “Then, “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). ” Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
(©️James R Hamilton, July 2018)