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How we blind ourselves
- Jacob Ninan
The Bible tells us that our heart is deceitful above all things (Je.17:9). One of the ways we deceive ourselves is by finding different ways to avoid acknowledging and dealing with our sins. Lying is one way people use to get out of admitting their faults. We Christians don't like to tell lies, and so we find more devious ways to hide our sins and escape accountability. In my opinion we Christians develop an extra expertise in this compared to unbelievers, because we are more conscious of the consequences of sin. We like to think that we are godly, or at least not conscious sinners, and so we find ways of wriggling out of having to admit to others or to ourselves that we have indeed sinned.
Let us say we crave for more money in our heart, and we are trying to make more money, get a bigger job, etc. Will we ever admit to other Christians that we love money? Oh no! Have you ever heard a Christian acknowledge that he is battling with the love of money? We will say, "This offer just came along and I thought it would be good to take it." "You know, we are told to be wise as serpents." "Doesn't it say we ought to be shrewd in the use the unrighteous mammon?" If we are planning some scheme to make more money we would start by spreading the word that we would have more money to give to the missions! Why do we justify ourselves like this? We may be trying to pacify our pricking conscience.
Suppose we are trying to impress other people with our wealth, abilities, skills, etc. Do we acknowledge that we are seeking the honour of man? Far from it! We say we need to have a good testimony for Jesus before the others, that Christians should not be considered as poor, weak people.
By telling ourselves (and others) that we have a good reason for doing what our conscience warns us against, we deceive ourselves. Granted many may not do these things deliberately or consciously. But these are the workings of a deceitful heart. Our own heart deceives us.
Jesus came to save us from our sins just as a doctor comes to treat sick people. He has not come just to forgive our sins, but also to set us free from sin. The first thing we need to do in this process of salvation is to acknowledge our sins (Je.3:13). Then comes repentance, confession and forgiveness. But the way we justify ourselves and avoid looking at our sins virtually holds us back from making any progress in this way.
On the other hand, once we acknowledge that we were born in sin, and that we need a transformation into God's nature, we need to make ourselves open to seeing more and more of our sinfulness. If we will not confess our sins to our Saviour (or the symptoms to the doctor), how will we ever get healed? When we sit before God reading and meditating on His word we can ask the Holy Spirit to show us the things that are lacking in our lives. In His light we see light (Ps.36:9). As we behold Him through His word and see ourselves, we can also seek for salvation and receive it (2Co.3:18).