Relevant Text: Prov. 26:13
Perception | It’s nearly impossible to know the true facts of any situation. Almost everything we see is colored by our perceptions. This is why, for example, the law considers eyewitness accounts to be “opinion” testimony; they’re admittedly impacted by expectations, biases, prejudices, hopes, motives, attitudes, backgrounds, abilities and environments.
Hearts | Our perceptions are also colored by our deceptive hearts . Most of us worship idols – that is, we inordinately love false gods that come in the form of created things like money or sex or power . Everything we see is colored by these idols. For example, years ago, a tobacco lobbyist named Victor Crawford – himself a smoker with throat cancer – admitted that his love of money influenced his perception of the truth: “I’m not proud of having lobbied for them. I think it’s ironic. And in a way, I think I got my just desserts, because, in my heart, I knew better. But I rationalized and denied, because the money was so good and because I could always rationalize it. That’s how you make a living, by rationalizing that black is not black; it’s white, it’s green, it’s yellow. But I knew, in my heart, that what the Surgeon General said was right” .
Self-Deception | This is how our sinful hearts and minds work – our deepest desires guide our rational thoughts and cause us to think that our desires – although wrong – are right. But our hearts are not neutral observers of the truth. They create illusions. Thus, Solomon wrote, “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!’” . Sluggards want to stay at home and be lazy, so they use their minds to create reasons to justify what they already want to do – even to the point where they believe their own self-deceptions.
Hope | Is there any hope? Yes! As God spoke through Jeremiah, “I, the LORD, search the heart and examine the mind” . Jesus came not only to show us how to live, but also to give us new hearts and minds . Although he shatters our self-deception by piercing our souls with truth, he also welcomes us into his family by embracing us with unconditional love.
Prayer | Lord, Almost everything we see isn’t as it seems because our perceptions are colored by our idols and self-deception. Therefore, we ask that you pierce our hearts and reveal the truth. Open our eyes to see you. Amen.
Footnotes:  Pogo. Cartoon. |  As Jeremiah prophesied, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9 NIV 1984). |  As Paul lamented, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25 NIV 1985). |  Roger Rosenblatt, “How Do Tobacco Executives Live With Themselves?” The New York Times Magazine. 20 March 1994. |  Prov. 26:13 NIV 1984 |  Jer. 17:10 NIV 1984 |  “God … made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6 NIV 1984).