Honesty, Lies and Self-Delusion

This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true. 1 John 1:5-6 NRSV

Honesty and lies. These aren’t topics much talked about these days. In fact, it may be that the American culture is on its way to being completely delusional, believing that lies are the truth simply because it’s what we believe.

Delusion is the state of being mislead, of misleading one’s mind or judgment. It can also mean to evade. When someone is delusional, they choose to believe that the truth doesn’t exist, but what they believe is the truth, regardless of the facts or evidence given to them.

The apostle John talks about delusion in these verses: If we say that we have fellowship with Him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true. This verse is specifically about Christians who claim they are Christians, but whose lives (habits, choices, practices) demonstrate that such a claim is a lie.

Is that me?

That is a question that I should ask myself everyday. I claim to be in fellowship with Him, but what does that actually mean: to be in fellowship? And once I understand that, is it true? Or am I lying to myself?

Delusional (another word for liar).

When I “fellowship” with God, the meaning is actually that I am closely joined with Him. In a sense, I am a talmid (disciple) to His rabbi. In this Jewish practice, the talmid imitated the rabbi as closely as possible in dress, eating, and other behaviors. The talmid was doing his best to become the rabbi. Over and over, the apostle Paul encouraged believers to imitate him. Why? Because he was imitating Christ! (This is the process of being a talmid). When the apostle John writes about fellowship, I believe it is this same process of which he speaks. When we fellowship with God, we are doing more than simply hanging out with Him. We are in His presence for the purpose of becoming more like the Lord Jesus every day.

Is that true about me?

John uses darkness and light as metaphors of sin and righteousness. He claims (rightly so) that in God there is no darkness; there is no sin. If I am fellowshiping with God — if I am imitating Him — then it logically goes that there is no sin in me.

Is that true?

I think that, in America, we now have the tendency to overestimate our abilities and our own value (both to society and to our families). A recent study concluded that college students are actually over-confident, that their estimates of their own abilities and values is beyond what is actually true. Another study concluded that college students may be on the verge to being addicted to self-esteem. They like feeling good about themselves . . . whether or not they should!


In Philippians 2, Paul wrote:
Do nothing from self ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. (v. 3-5 NKJV).

I think it is very possible that we have become so egocentric as to believe that we must tend to our own needs, rather than trusting God for them, that we must have our desires fulfilled, rather than pouring our lives out in service… as Christ did for us. And I think that it is very possible that we are deluding ourselves into believing that God wants us to be happy rather than to be righteous.

The apostle John writes as if he were living in our society, on our streets today. Of course, he wasn’t, but the Holy Spirit Himself knew that we would need to hear these words, that I would need to hear that I am being delusional when I think I am in fellowship…and I am not! I want to learn how to be bluntly and totally honest, to learn to do what is truth!