I have concluded that the most discouraging of all sins is deceit. Yes, all sin separates from God. Greed permeates and drives people to uncharacteristic behavior. Addictions break bodies and minds. Sexual sin leaves wounds that last for years. But deceit drives others to discouragement.
This isn’t a fun blog to write. It’s been a long 5 months in coming. The day a fellow Christian passed to me vicious gossip was the beginning; I still don’t know if those statements are true, but I know that the actions of that Christian were not as if it were believed so. Then a fellow teacher and another fellow Christian, both twisting a story of which I was in the middle. More gossip. Watching people claim to believe and live in a way that is completely inconsistent with their reality. Being told someone doesn't know something, only to find out they do. Spending hours helping a student, only to watch that same student cheat...
If Christians act this way, why should I be surprised to see it in non-Christians? If adults find deceit acceptable, why do I wonder that I see it in children? That’s why it is discouraging. Deceit is so subtle. It’s not a big choice that the world can see and choose to accept or condemn. It sneaks into otherwise healthy relationships. It ruins otherwise solid foundations. And it seems innocent or small at the beginning.
I’m discouraged. I know others who are discouraged. If people can’t even be honest, how will we ever see them grow in the Lord? Why would I bother to help when I’m only going to be hurt?
On Sunday I heard a sermon (that’s fortunate, since I attended three different churches). The preacher told of a man commanded by God to go out each morning and push on a rock. After years, the Lord came and visited again. The man lamented to the Lord that he’d not been able to move the rock, wondering why God had given him such an impossible task. The Lord reminded him, “I didn’t tell you to move the rock. I just told you to push.”
This, then, is the antithesis to my discouragement. Galatians 6:7, 9. God knows hearts. And God reaps the harvest. I don’t have to move the rock. Oh, Jesus, give me the spirit to push!