Last week, my blog was entitled, “The Lies We Tell Ourselves, and Why We So Desperately Want to Believe Them.” All of the lies we tell ourselves are harmful to some degree and some may also be sinful. If I know I’m a few pounds overweight, but tell myself I’m fine, that lie may be harmful to me, but may not be a sin.
However, there are other lies we tell ourselves that can be dangerous or deadly to our spiritual, physical, or relational lives. And if you, or someone you mentor has believed one of these lies, you have an obligation to tell them. The real danger of believing these lies is that they keep us from addressing the problem the lies are actually covering up.
So, here are my top 5 most dangerous lies (perhaps you have others you’d like to let us know about as well.) 1. Just one more time, then I’ll stop. Every addict, or every person with a bad habit has believed that lie. Here’s why this lie is so dangerous; mentally and morally we give ourselves “points” for intending to quit. We can imagine other people with the same habit or addiction, who have not “stopped,” but you haven’t. You have every intention of stopping after just one more time. So, at least you have that going for you at. Here’s a good test; Try stopping for a month.
2. I’m sure God will forgive me. Those of us raised in the church have heard about Jesus’ sacrificial death to free us from the penalty for our sins, and his capacity to love us unconditionally. So why is it we’d presume on God’s good grace and sin anyway? Because we want to is the short answer.
In The 10 Second Rule, I call this “grace abuse.” “Grace abuse is holding God to his promises, while using them as an excuse to break our promises to him. The real purpose for the grace of God is to do what I can’t. It should never be my excuse for what I won’t.”
Paul wrote this; “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” Romans 6:1-3
It is a dangerous sin to presume on the grace of God and continue sinning; especially for those who are “born again” and know better. Finally, remind the person you’re mentoring, there are both temporal and eternal consequences for the sins we commit.
3. I’ll never get caught. I’m guessing that almost every married man or woman who has ever been unfaithful to his or her spouse has believed this lie. Two things make this lie so dangerous.
First, it’s true – there are times we don’t get caught, which emboldens us to even risker behavior that eventually almost always does get found out, shaming God, ourselves and usually destroying our families.
Second, even if we don’t’ get caught, sinful behavior is toxic to our spiritual lives. I’ve never had an adulterous man who didn’t tell me that while he was in his relationship, his faith didn’t suffer.
4. My sins are not as bad as many others. Almost every Christian I know thinks homosexual sex, same-sex marriage, abortion, and adultery are worse than their own sins. Of course, it’s possible that your sins are of a lesser degree. And these are serious sins to be sure.
But the danger of believing what may be a lie, is that it keeps us from addressing our own sins. I’ve found this to be true; Most Christians tend to vilify the sins we’re least likely to commit.
I’m not exactly sure what’s behind the logic of, “well, at least I don’t’ do that!” I suspect it has something to do with the idea that what God really hates are the big “10 commandment type sins” (felonies) as opposed to my sin (misdemeanors). But, here are just a few detestable sins that many “good Christians” (like me) have committed.
“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” Proverbs 6:16-19
Pride, not telling the truth, bad mouthing the leaders of your church? Are you still sure your own sins are not as bad as others from God’s perspective?
5. I believe in Jesus and try to be a good person. God and I are fine. I’ve met lots of Christians who believe if God grades on the curve, they can make the cut and get into heaven someday. Their only goal is to be above average on the “be a good person” scale, and below average on the sin scale, and they’re in. (So they think. But Jesus himself said this about Christians;
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15, 16
This last lie may be the most deadly of all. What makes it particularly deadly is that those who believe it, think they can get right with God by a combination of good works and sin management. Perhaps they’ve forgotten this;
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9
How following Jesus works in real life.
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