I came within a hair’s breadth of falling for a soul-crushing delusion. I nearly decided that our nation is better off embracing a morally-flawed man who purports to side with me on cultural issues like gay marriage and the protection of Christian conscience, than opening my ears to hear.
Then I read Rod Dreher’s parade of horribles that took me from truly lost Ellen Page to morally corrupt but honest Louis C.K., to the heart-rending tales of Diana Nyad and Nancy French. They landed straight in Roy Moore’s lap. I wept. I suggest you read every word, then go back and read all the stories he linked.
The Bible says that the human heart is “deceitful about all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). In the next verse, which is rarely quoted, the Lord answers Himself: “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.”
Human beings are all carriers of cognitive dissonance. As Erick pointed out, the anti-Christian progressive left is just fine referring to an unborn baby as a non-person fetus until it is killed by a gunman at a church, then it’s a baby. It’s no different with Christians–why would it be?–only the issues change.
Jerry Falwell, Jr. is more concerned with credibility in the eyes of voters than in the eyes of God. He sees nothing wrong with this. I almost fell for that also. Then, in tears, I realized my error.
Nobody is perfect in life, and I know if I ever ran for high office, plenty of things about me would or could end up in the public eye that I’d rather not be public. (No, I haven’t molested or propositioned a 14-year-old, but who is the judge of what causes shame or discredit but my own conscience and God’s word? None of us is without sin. Not one.)
We are truly living in Biblical times, and it’s very easy to fall for the delusion that God is not here, or does not exist, or care for us. But really, His own prophets and Word predict this very time, and warns/encourages us on how we are to act. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 for a good description of the “unrighteous deception.”
And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
It is just as much a delusion to believe you can be right with God and done such damage to a 14-year-old (and others) many years ago, yet walk pridefully away from the accusations as if they are beneath contempt. Every single argument proffered by Roy Moore’s defenders is exactly as predicted by other victims of abuse.
Let that sink in. Others have come forward (like Nancy French) with their own stories because they recognize themselves in Liegh Corfman, who is now being criticized for the exact reasons she recognized and therefore kept quiet for 38 years.
It’s a delusion to believe that we, as American Christians and evangelicals, are somehow better bred, spiritually-speaking, than others. We are not. As the book of Revelation chapter 2 describes the Laodicean church, we say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”
Doubtless we can, at the same time, hold up a Godly standard, and violate our own conscience and throw mud on Christ’s sacrifice.
Is it righteousness?
I want to deal with one question right here–the crux of the matter. Is supporting Moore a delusion or a stand for righteousness in the face of political attack?
Let me respond to a theologian I respect, Dr. Michael Brown, who posed some perfectly valid concerns.
Think back to the Ted Cruz campaign for president, when 5 women accused him of having sexual relations with them. These were charges he flatly denied. Do we have any good reason today to believe they were true? (Note also that the National Enquirer was their main source.) Perhaps it is the same with Roy Moore. Perhaps this is nothing more than a politically motivated attack, coming just when he was poised to win the election.
Here is the difference. No women have come forward and said “that’s me” about the Ted Cruz accusations. I don’t mean women who also accuse Cruz of misdeeds. I mean women who heard the accusations against Cruz and said “yes, that’s my story.” The Bible makes it very clear who is witness to sin: a person’s own spirit and mind, and God, are always a witness.
God is the perfect witness, while we humans tend to bend our perceptions to fit our own bias. This is why the Bible calls for multiple witnesses. But the Bible also says that there is no temptation but that what is “common to mankind.” A sensational accusation, in a politically-charged environment, either rings true, or it doesn’t.
In Cruz’s case, it didn’t ring true because others didn’t see themselves in the story. In Clinton’s case–many women have come forward. In Weinstein’s case, I’d guess that most of Hollywood shares the “me too” story. In the Catholic Church, many lives were damaged because the priesthood offered a shield of power and trust over young lives (and also in schools, like Nyad’s coach, or the many instances of female teachers having relations with teenage boys).
In Moore’s case, the “me too” factor is very strong. Christians should not fall for the strong delusion of cognitive dissonance, that a Christian would not have done what Moore did–would not have succumbed to temptation. We should also not believe that Moore will do the right thing and step aside, if the accusations are true, as the White House has maintained.
Face the deception
Conscience demands that we look deeper and face our own deceived souls.
The proof of God’s existence and care for this world is not found in the righteous behavior of good and Godly men. It is found in the reality of sin and the freeing power of the truth, repentance and grace.
I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.
I believe that the fruit of Roy Moore’s doings are appearing, based on the very real reactions of others who have been victims of similar actions. I almost fell for the delusion that politics is more important–that our religious freedom is hinged upon electing men like Trump and Moore.
But it’s not. The hardest atheist and most confirmed leftist can break under the tremendous force of grace. They will not break under the yoke of those who pursue delusions and power. Too many Christians have traded the moral authority given us by God for a delusion of cultural power we no longer possess.
As Nancy French concluded:
“I’m not an angel,” Corfman pointed out. Moore, on the other hand, repeatedly claimed to be God’s warrior. However, the scripture he really needed to read wasn’t one of the Ten Commandments he so desperately wanted to hang in the state courthouse. It was Luke 17:2, which warns, “it would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.”
The great thing about 2017 is seeing these victims standing up straight, no longer stumbling. May we also see justice prevail for the predators, this side of heaven.
I nearly fell for the delusion that we can oppose our own hearts and overrule the conscience of mankind. The victims’ hearts speak louder and more clearly, if we have ears to hear.