Being misunderstood despite all efforts to be clear is particularly frustrating. Sometimes I blame myself for not being a good communicator, and that is even more frustrating. What is worse is when the truth is told and someone accuses you of lying.
Recently, this happened to me. As I read the Bible passages for today, I realized the power of lies in the human mind. No explanation, however clear it might be, can change the mind of someone who rejects truth and lucid reasoning. While it hurts when someone does it to me, I also feel upset when biblical truth is dismissed or even said to be a lie.
Lately I notice how many young people use social media and news channels on the Internet for their sources of information. These are not always reliable nor tested for their dependability. Also, God tells me to be on the alert and discern what I hear. It is dangerous to believe just anything.
While it hurts when someone says I am telling a lie, it seems to me that when God is spoken of as not being true or relevant, He is more concerned for the one who has misunderstood or dismissed Him. They have fallen into a trap . . .
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.” (1 John 4:1–3)
Christians talk about the Antichrist as a person who will show up and mesmerize millions of people. The author of my devotional book points out several verses that indicate this antichrist is not a single person but a system or way of thinking that opposes Christ, and that it has been here for a couple thousand years. One of the verses he quotes says . . .
“Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18)
Other passages say things like . . .
“Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming . . . .”
Regardless of whether Antichrist is a system of thought or a single person, the one behind the associated lies is the actual enemy. I need to discern His lies because they are terribly dangerous. He is in the business of deluding people so as to change their eternal destiny. Worse yet, those who believe his lies are in danger from God who can eventually give them over to such horrible delusion.
“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
Today, after being attacked by someone who believes a lie about me, I have to remember truth about God, but also truth about myself. I am not telling lies, nor have I done things that this person accuses me of doing. This part of God’s Word is easily personalized to help me understand this attack . . .
I am thankful for those who are beloved by the Lord, because He chose us to be saved through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. It was this to which He called us through the Gospel, so that we have obtained the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can stand firm and hold to the teaching of God’s Word, either through the Bible or sound preaching. The Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father loves us and gives eternal comfort and good hope through grace. He comforts our hearts and establishes us in every good work and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:1–17)
Jesus, I cannot change the hearts of those determined to go against You, Your people, and against me personally. But I can trust You to give me grace to deal with it, and perhaps to show mercy to those who are in the grip of a false understanding.