Borrowed Truths

Perception

Borrowed Truths

Perception

There is a very old saying amongst the fellowship of believers, some people go to church to close their eyes, some go to eye the clothes. It has to do with perception, an item that has no place in the church, but can nevertheless still be found there today, times change, people rarely do.

This perception that we are speaking of can be found in the world of the lost nearly everywhere you look, from large checks handed usually to charitable organizations in plain site of all the television cameras they can gather together, to the individual who needs others to see them as something more than what they truly are, perception is the precursor to pride. Without this recognition, those who seek for it will find little value in their own eyes, they need others to notice them, almost to the point of narcissism, an obsession with self that can only be appreciated when others notice their accomplishments. These can usually be found in positions of what I classify as “assumed power,” and it matters little if they have one individual under their authority or a thousand, they must be noticed, or all of their efforts are in vain.

This self-centeredness is a serious crutch for them, without it their value even unto themselves is questioned, it is a need that must be fulfilled, or the perception will end up being only an imagination within their own minds, and the self-delusion will drive them to the point of either extreme anger or extreme depression. It is one thing to be needed, it is quite another to think that you are needed when in all actuality you are not, and then to come to the realization of that fact, so when the latter occurs in their lives, life has very little meaning for them. It is a sad state indeed, for sooner or later they will have to come to the truth that the entirety of their lives was completely wasted, and it is our responsibility in love and compassion to show them the error of their ways before that happens, the truth that they have no more control than any other person does in the end. “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21)

The saddest example of these individuals that you will ever encounter though is the one who professes Christ, those who come to look at the clothes instead of arriving at church to close their eyes. They need others to notice them, they generally, although not always, can be found in the same pew each weekend, usually making sure that they give greetings to those who will inform others of their presence. Small talk is about themselves, what they have done, where they are going, and although it is not done so in a specific way, they do all that they can to make sure that someone notices when they place their offering in the plate. Hypocritical is a good word to describe them, “Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.” (Mark 12:38-40)

The perception that they are attempting to attain for others to see is one of piety, but they are usually fairly easy to see thru. Traditions are the mainstay of their faith, not the Word of God, they are almost always present when it is time to put up the decorations for certain holidays, and rarely will they miss an after-church fellowship, usually bringing some extensive dish for all to enjoy, or at least to notice. If they are not noticed, they serve no purpose, and so they are over exuberant in their actions to not be overlooked, doing whatever is necessary to be at the center of attention. Like Ananias and Saphira, (Acts 5) they give, but not all. The perception of a thing is rarely the truth of that thing, the question is, do these see in themselves this deception, or do they really believe that they are truly serving Christ.

“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Prov. 16:25) These individuals may think that what they are doing, the life that they are living, is actually a Christian life, they are beyond being deceived by our adversary, they have become self-deceived, and to bring them to the knowledge of this truth is more than a little difficult. They will fight with all that they have to prove to you that what they are doing is in good faith, that it is Christ they serve, or at least the hallowed traditions of the church they attend. Very little of the truths of the errors of their ways will they accept, the delusion is very strong, and has been a part of their lives for as long as they can remember. These do not only want the acceptance of others, they need it, and at any cost they will attain it, even to the loss of their own self if necessary.

The perception of their own selves will be modified if needed to accommodate the ideology of what they want others to see, usually when it is someone that they believe will be of a benefit to them. The recognition they need is one of self-fulfillment, but they will be self-effacing when necessary, even to the degree of pointing out their own faults, but never to one that they see as beneath them. In the area of the Scriptures, they will almost always agree with the pastor, but will question his words when they are in the presence of one that they see, at least for the moment, as one of their betters, if that is what is necessary for the perception of that one to see them as worthy, as acceptable. The studying of the Word of God to them is a foreign idea, they have rehearsed well known bits and pieces of the Scriptures, but only those that make them seem more religious in the eyes of those that they meet, perception is the ultimate goal, not truth.

The Word of God is there to serve them, they are not interested in serving it, the precepts only are adhered to when they are a benefit to themselves, these will love their neighbor, if their neighbor is an advantage to them, they love the crown of glory, but despise the crown of thorns. The perception that they desire others to see is one of a pious, religious individuals, but their heart is not only far from the Lord, they have never even known Him as Lord. “These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” (Jude 1:12-13)

These individuals can be more difficult to reach than the lost, harder to help than those who have heard but still deny, they are self-deceived above almost all that you will ever encounter, but that does not mean that we should not try. They will of course fight your every word, even when those words come directly from the Scriptures, but it is in love that we must try to reach them, and only the Words of God will avail our efforts. You will find these individuals in nearly every building with a cross on it, both in the front and back pews, even behind the pulpit, and they are no different than the lost who are filled with pride and have no fear of God before their eyes, (Rom. 3:18) the wrath of God abides on them, (John 3:36) the only difference is that they have heard the truths of the Scriptures, and have denied it for the self-righteousness that they have sought from men, they have sought the praise of men, (John 12:43) and will receive the same reward as the lost at their final day if they remain on this path.

There is only one’s perception of who you are that you need to be concerned with my friends, and He looks on the heart of man, (1st Sam. 16:7) He can see the truth of who we are, it is impossible to hide this fact from Him. Concern yourself with the knowledge of this truth, but do not hesitate to help the one who is still deceiving themselves, they can be changed from a false brother to one whom the Lord will accept just as much as any other that will call on Him for forgiveness.

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