How do we get lulled into spiritually manipulative and deceitful groups? Why do we so easily trust hypocritical and deceitful leaders? They initially present a very good front or outward appearance. In essence the book cover looks very good. Once you get there things are not what you expected, the book cover is deceptive. Even if initially there seems to be some red flags, we have a general tendency to give people, groups, and institutions a second chance, which is not necessarily bad. So, even though the first chapter is not what we had hoped for, especially based on the enticing book cover, we continue to read on in hopes things get better.
The dangers becomes when we exchange ‘giving them a second chance’ for ‘letting our guard down.’ Reasons we might let our guard down could be:
-The initial front said all the right things.
-Someone you respect endorsed the person/group/institution.
-The person/group/institution might create some good memorable experiences early on.
-The person/group/institution instantly makes you feel liked or appreciated (flattered you).
-Everyone in the group presents a very happy appearance.
The book cover said all the right words and the initial experience made you feel good.
The most convincing lies are full of truth
What we forget is that the best lies are always full of truth. Not many will believe a gross and obvious lie, but mingle in a lie with a lot of truth and all of a sudden it becomes much harder to discern. The lie starts to sound better and when the lie sounds better it becomes very easy to overlook. This is probably how compromise occurs most often; much of what we see and hear is correct so we no longer take the time to test and examine everything. Slowly and surely we give way without ever realizing it. This is why it is vital to constantly check things against the truth of God’s word.
Just because an institution, group, or person can say all the right things in a doctrine or faith statement, does not mean that they are committed to living those truths out. And it goes the other way as well, just because an institution, group, or person seems genuine in how they live, does not mean that what they believe is accurate or doctrinally sound.
Do you have joy?
Serving Christ is not always easy, but it should come from a heart of gratitude. There should be joy in serving Christ. There is freedom in Christ. Any system that claims to follow Christ and yet drains and constricts, might be one to watch out for.