Saturday, June 28, 2008

Misplaced Anger: Self-Deception

I’m curious about something. When Jesus advised the disciples that they were to beware of the leaven (or the teaching) of the Pharisees, what was that all about? Why was Jesus so insistent about this issue that he would take the time to warn them?

Later, Paul had to address a very similar situation with some other followers of Christ: You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!

A lot of believers who have made the exodus from organized religion are angry, hurt and wounded at the institution and its leaders. But could it be their anger is misplaced? Note that Jesus did NOT say to beware of the religious leaders - but to beware of their 'leaven' (a type of yeast that caused fermentation in bread or liquid). Could it be that He knew how easily we would fall for this well-disguised, baited hook of corruption masquerading as truth? I mean, is it possible that Jesus initially gave this warning to ‘beware of the leaven' of the religious leaders because He knew that in our very flesh exists an innate liking, appetite or desire for this very leaven? Could it be that at one point in our lives leaven, or religion, was mighty attractive to us? Maybe our heavenly Father wants those who are still blaming their former religious leaders to take a sobering look at the possibility of the real fact - that hidden within their very own flesh is the very same spirit that was working in and through those they now blame for all of the religion-induced pain they are grappling with today. Why, then, should those who have left the institution be so angry at its hierarchy? Have those leaders not been duped by religion as well?

Here in my opinion is a real brain freeze! All of this misplaced anger is amounting to nothing but keeping believers locked up even further and longer in their own self-made prison. "But" many would argue, "I was but an innocent lamb, a pawn, duped into this entrapment! And the leaders were the ones who kept me enslaved!" Seems to me, if you read the biblical account of the fall in Paradise, that after Adam and Eve's moment of supposed enlightenment proposed by the father of lies (the serpent) Adam, speaking to God, retorts, 'I would have never been deceived or wouldn't have disobeyed you, had it not been for this darn woman!'. Then the woman goes straight for the jugular: 'I too am not responsible! It's all that darn snake's fault! He made me do it!'

I know of no greater lie or deception than being SELF-deceived, and then passing the buck and blaming everyone else rather than seeing all that we have gone through as a wonderful wake-up call from our loving heavenly Father. Maybe He is bringing us to the place of recognizing for the first time the depth of the utter and total depravity of our fleshly thinking and the hidden inclination within US, to turn our lives over to somebody or something other than the Father of our spirit? Could it be that religion was instituted by Satan himself in the Garden for the sole purpose of enticing humanity with a substitute for the real thing (freedom) - and from that point on ALL humanity has fallen for the lie?
Jesus once said to his disciples that there were many things he would like to have told them but that they weren't able comprehend it (like Jack Nicholson's character says in "A Few Good Men": "You can't handle the truth!). Maybe coming to grips with the fact that it's not the religious leaders, but the pervasive world-system of religious thinking, which is the leavening agent within our corrupt flesh - that is to blame for our deception. However, it is necessary to note that this covert and subtle suducing away from Christ as our only Life is totally impotent as long as we don't give a 'mind' to it (see Galatians 3:1-3).


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