O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us
You’re kidding yourself! No, really–you are. What are you going to do about it?
In self-deception you’re both the deceiver and the deceived—you talk yourself into a lie. But SD is so frequent you don’t even notice it.
Examples abound. I tell myself I can indulge my lust and still have high morals. Although I’m all for good nutrition, I tell myself it’s OK to eat lots of sugars and fats. (Anyway, next week I’ll start my diet.) When I was a pilot, I convinced myself I could beat the odds and fly through bad weather–a practice I condemned in other pilots.
St. Paul feels my pain: “…what I do is not the good I want to do.” (Rom 7:19). Vintage SD—no big deal, really—except when it leads to disaster. In dating, SD can lead to sexual immorality and a broken heart. In nutrition, SD can lead to frail health and an early death. In aviation, SD can lead to a fatal accident.
Where does SD come from? It comes from my split will. My “will” is not single; it’s more like a food fight among dysfunctional members of a board. The voices of reason get out-shouted by the short-sighted members who favor easy-feel-good over hard-but-better.
What to do?
- I need to tell myself the truth, to admit that I’m a sucker for SD.
- I need faithful people around me to correct and warn me (for example, an accountability group).
- I need to remember: God is true; I’m not.
As St. Paul says, “…the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). Not my SD “truth,” but God’s.