Deceit

"...deceitful tongues."

photo "Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues." (Psalm 120:2)

This past week Patti and were in Houston, Texas so I could give some talks on teen depression and other topics. One afternoon we were able to get away and engage in one of our favorite activities, a walk on the beach, this one at Galveston. We've walked many beaches on the east, west, and gulf coasts, but never before had we encountered the sight before us -- piles and piles of brown seaweed filled with these iridescent "balloons."

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Something told me to be careful around these beautiful creatures. At first I thought they were jellyfish, but then I realized they weren't really "jelly." In fact. they looked just like latex balloons (and sounded like them when Patti popped one with a stick). I pushed a couple of them over and saw some interesting tentacles hanging from the bottom. Hmm... pretty on top, but something sinister on the bottom...

photo "Don't let looks deceive you," certainly applied in this case. These were Portugeese Man-of-War, beautiful, almost inviting to play with, but deceitfully hiding tentacles full of venom capable of killing small animals. The venom is even dangerous after the "balloons" have settled on the beach and died. Whew, good thing we only poked them with sticks! The psalmist warns of lying lips and deceitful tongues. It's easy to tell a lie. Sometimes a lie just gets blurted out in an impulsive moment of anxiety, anger, etc. Deceit seems even worse because it requires some planning. A "web of deceit" is constructed often times to hide or misrepresent the truth. Deceit inevitably hurts in order to gain it's goal. We've all been the victims of deceitful ploys by others. Somewhere along the line we probably fell into some "trap" because we believed too much and tested too little. We walked away feeling "stung," rubbing our wounds, and vowing, "We won't be fooled again!" However, the worst webs of deceit I have ever seen are the ones we spin for ourselves. Recently I was talking with someone recovering from an addiction who said, "You just don't see it (the truth of how you're hurting yourself and others) while you're in it." They're right. The web of deceit we spin for ourselves can hide our own troubling behaviors and attitudes, leaving us to blame others for our troubles. From within that web of deceit it appears obvious to us that our difficulties are the fault of someone else, so obviously, how can we be expected to change anything?

Easter is an invitation to new life, a life lived in truth and love. God knows the truth about us and loves us anyway. That's what Jesus' life, death, and resurrection truly mean. Beware of lies and deceit, and accept the invitation to new life. I pray that God will give me the courage to seek the truth and willingness to accept the invitation to new life. How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Gary
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my new book, "A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression," visit www.survivingteendepression.com.

Check out my new video, "Teens Surviving the Storm"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24