Written by cycleguy on April 14th, 2010

During my Bible reading this morning I read about the Gibeonite deception.  You can find the whole sordid story in Joshua 9.  For the sake of brevity, it is the story of the Gibeonites who used deception to trick Joshua and the people of Israel into sparing their lives.  Fearing for their lives (because of God’s reputation in the battles Israel had fought-mainly Jericho and Ai), the Gibeonites pulled off a master deception by dressing in old worn-out clothes and having nothing but old, crusty, crumbly bread and telling Joshua they lived a long way off.  With this deception they were able to get a promise from Joshua that they would be allowed to live.  When Joshua found out he was livid and the Gibeonites ultimately paid the price for their deception by becoming slaves.  True, their lives were spared, but they lived as slaves to the Israelites the rest of their life.

It isn’t hard to see where I can go with this post.  Pretending we are someone we aren’t.  Lying.  Conniving.  (You may even think of more).  But my thoughts this morning focused around the deception we practice of pretending we are someone we aren’t.  The previous post featuring the article by Chuck Swindoll sparked my thinking about “relevancy”.  In our attempt to converse with our world, we often deceive ourselves and try to deceive others by becoming someone we aren’t.  In the comment section Tom Raines brought up about how we are perceived.  I am convinced that the world sees right through us.  They see the fakery.  They see the false picture. Dare I say it?  They see the compromise-not necessarily of God (at least initially)-but the compromise of ourselves…our integrity…our “realness.”   I honestly believe that is what God wants.  Don’t try to fake your “relevance.”  Don’t try to deceive with old, worn-out clothes and dry, crusty bread.

What are your thoughts?  Have you struggled with this personally in your own life?  How about your church fellowship?  Do you struggle with being real?  I would like to hear your thoughts.


32 Comments so far ↓

  1. Oh m word have I EVER struggled with being REAL!! A lot of it was out of fear though. Fear about what people would think if they saw the real me. Fear of the judgement. Fear of the repercusions of taking off the mask and revealing a wounded heart and life. Just recently have I ripped off the mask and felt free to be me and it has made the greatest of differences. I still struggle, in fact I struggle with it DAILY. I woke up in emotional pain-hurting, deeply but put on my game face for all the world. Its a lonely place putting on a game face but I was TAUGHT ( for real I was!) to “fake it till you make it”. It will take a long time to break free ( in my opinion) from such a destructive lie. ( Sorry for the rambling!)

  2. cycleguy says:

    Julie: thanks so much for your comment. You hit the nail on the head and I suspect there will be others who know exactly what you are talking about. I pray you will continue finding the healing you desire. And no need to apologize for rambling. I did not see it as that. 🙂

  3. Zee says:

    tried to be someone else for many years of my short life… tried to fit into the picture everyone had of me – a smart pastor’s kid, a pink and fluffy girl… which can’t be further from the truth. well, i am still a pastor’s kid – mom didn’t stop being a pastor, but i finally got brave enough for people to see the real me.

    i did not become a rebel or something. i just gave up the notion of “fitting in” and accepted myself as a misfit. but the way i look at my misfitness is the way i mentioned at Michael’s blog – i choose to be a misfit because it allows me to fit basically everywhere.

    i love that “No Perfect People Allowed” approach you mentioned on your “About” page. that’s what every Church should be like – accepting people for who they are, not molding them into a statue they would like to see – the rights for changing anyone belong to God and to Him only. also, He is the only one who really CAN change a person.

    sorry for rambling 😀 just something that was on my mind today.

  4. Jeff Harris says:

    I don’t know if I have ever really struggled with just being me. I kinda like me and everyone else. I do try to avoid those situations where there are hidden rules or certain expectations that I might not fit into or care to fit into.
    I actually think the Gibeonites were quite successful in saving their lives. I think being a slave might be better than dying. So maybe your story also gives reason for some deception as being beneficial.
    I believe most people just want to fit in. Some people may try too hard and some groups make it very difficult.
    Churches are no different than any other social organization. Some have very hidden rules and very judgemental participants.
    You can say poop but you can’t say s–t, you can say darn but you can’t say d–n. You can do this but you can’t do that. How silly, but if you want to be a part of that group you kinda have to figure out the hidden rules.
    Just a little hint…If you are invited to a dinner party hosted by an extremely wealthy person DO NOT take your green bean casserole. It will upset the caterer.
    I can ramble too.

  5. Tom Raines says:

    Wow, great thought of comparing how we are as a person to the people/body of the church. I can’t say this in 20 words so I will apologize up front and know this is TMI but here goes. I was brought up in a “looking good” family. The MOST important thing was what people thought about you not who you were. I was over 40 years old when I found out that I had no clue who I was unless I knew first who you expected or wanted me to be and then that is who I was. Honest, real? Hardly. The greatest thing that has ever happened to me and my realness was admitting I was an alcoholic. Being active in Celebrating Recovery and AA created honesty in me for the very first time. I was a functioning alcoholic while participating in, leading and starting men’s bible studies. Youth D group leader all the while. God finally took me to my knees and I really found Him there. I say I found Jesus in those little white chairs of AA meetings. Where BROKEN, non Christian people said they were better because of their “higher power”. They hit their knees every day and relied on this higher power to restore them to sanity. Asking myself when was the last time I hit my knees…I began to hit my knees and my life has forever changed. And as they say, I confessed all my shortcomings to God, myself and to another human being and this is the BEGINNING of healing.

    Is the church any different? On EVERY pew there are people with hurts, habits and hangups that they feel they can not be honest about. But there is hope and healing in the honesty. If we focus on the love and acceptance of Jesus Himself and just say it’s OK to not be OK and that God’s healing grace and love is the answer. Then there is no need to fake programs or not be who we are.
    The truth will be found out in both people and churches. Meet Him on our knees and seek HIS kingdom and HIS will and He takes care of the rest. Before my honesty I only knew the physical address of the church with head knowledge. After the honesty I received the real address of the church was in the sanctuary of my heart where I meet with God on my knees.

    Now that’s rambling!I am sure this is against blogging protocol but you really hit a nerve on this one.

  6. Michelle says:

    I like where you are going with this. My experience with deception is slightly different than a healthy child at the age of 11. Long story short or short story long, At age 11, I had my first heart surgery- ablation (the first of three). The doctors required that I wear a heart monitor for two weeks straight. Back then the monitors were huge and there was virtually no way of trying to hide all the wires that connected to it. I still feel pain, not caused by my heart, but rather of the fear in worrying about what people thought about me. Over the years, I have grown to realize that none of us are perfect. God uses our weakness to His glory. Amen for that!

  7. Linda M says:

    Hi Jeff Harris,
    I think you have said here in your comment what others may have been saying. That the church is not that much different from the world. This is a problem. We see things in the church and things are happening in the church that shouldn’t be.
    I think your’re right, that most people just want to fit in. But at what price? Our spiritual lives? Our eternity?

  8. Linda M says:

    Hi cycleguy,
    i have been noticing lately how many Hollywood stars are giving back to society through good works. After the Haiti earthquake disaster there was a huge outpouring of compassion and giving from the people of several countries in the world.
    If this trend continues the world’s unsaved peoples will be doing better at good works then the church is. Even American Idol is doing good works in Africa for children. I don’t know if this is a deception. It looks sincere. The church’s only boast is that we know Jesus the Lord and creator of all things. And now there is a valid question circulating around the world about whether God is even with the church anymore. What a shame and tragedy.

  9. cycleguy says:

    Zee: there are just some things we can’t change about ourselves. I know there were times my girls probably wished they weren’t a pastor’s kid but as long as I was doing what I was doing they were stuck! 🙂 Glad you changed in the one place you could-how you viewed yourself. I have never met you but based on my blog and others I like what I see. God has some fantastic things in store for you. The “no perfect people allowed” is important to me. And you were not rambling.

  10. cycleguy says:

    James: you sort of can open Pandora’s Box with the “beneficial” statement. As unbelievers they could deceive all they want. But as believers the israelites (and now us) were to put away that practice. But you are right in one thing: finding the way to fit in and knowing the rules is tough.

  11. cycleguy says:

    Tom: First, in my mind there is no blogging protocol when it is mine. LOL Second, WOW! What a fantastic testimony.There is a lady in my church fellowship who would wholeheartedly agree with you on the AA thing. She continues to go and minister in her own way on the power of Christ. I suspect many readers could identify with you on the “looking good” family. Thanks so much for the input into this discussion.

  12. cycleguy says:

    Michelle: amazing what leads us to fear and cover up. No doubt at the age of 11 God has big plans for you. 🙂 Thanks for commenting. And AMEN!

  13. cycleguy says:

    Linda: that may be one of the saddest commentaries out there when the Hollywood people and those of their ilk “outgive” and “outserve” the church. “Help us God to not be so into us.” Thanks for the comment.

  14. Zee says:

    Bill: it’s not that i had a problem with my mom being a pastor – she’s great at what she does. my problem was with people in Church who set their expectations of me and expected me to be like those dreams of theirs. and when i could not be perfect, i felt like i was failing both my mom, the people at Church, and, in extension, God.

    thankfully that experience has taught me how to relate to other people in Church and elsewhere. live and learn, eh? 🙂

    thanks for encouragement.

  15. cycleguy says:

    Zee: I think you have put your finger on what many PK’s go through, at least I think mine did. It is not so much they are ashamed of being a PK as it is the expectations of others in the church. It is almost like they expect an imperfect human (all of us) to act perfectly (not a chance). It does sound as though it taught you the right way to look at others though. You’re welcome btw.

  16. Jim F. says:

    Being real is a tough call for a pastor and me personally because fear of people always judging what I say, do, or how I react. There are a few people that really get to see the real me but over time that group has gotten larger and I have come to realize the need for being who I am around people.

  17. cycleguy says:

    You are right jim. It is a fine line we walk. Who to trust and who not to. who to be real in front of and who to “shade” ourselves from. Reckon only time will really tell us.

    How is your father-in-law doing?

  18. Being real is tough. We depend on the impressions of others. We want to fit in. We want to keep our jobs.
    It is all about impressions.

    If the real me comes out, I might lose “everything”.

    God wants us to depend on Him and follow Him regardless of impressions. He wants our life to be about Him and not about what others think of us. He wants us to rely on Him. He promises to meet our need (don’t mistake for make us comfortable).

    If only I could get that through my thick head.

    P.S. I’m a PK and a MK (missionary kid). That pedestal is set high and is a disaster waiting to happen. The Church needs to stop being like the Pharisees casting stones and realize that just as the Pastor ministers to them, they have a responsibility to minister to their Pastor (and family). We need to get away from the “feed me” mentality and move towards “feeding others”.

  19. Jim F. says:

    Here is the report on Father in Law:

    We went Tuesday to Pittsburgh with Wendy’s Mom and Dad for the neurology appointment and CT scan and MRI. Everything went very well – no cancer anywhere in the body. He has a spot behind the eye that they are not sure what it is – it could be a tumor – it could be an area of inflammation – It could be cancer but regardless of what it is it is very treatable with the doctor’s suggestion. The Neurologist suggestion was to remove it because he does not know what it is and we thought that was best course of treatment and more importantly Wendy’s dad thought that was the best way to go. The doctor did say that it was an option to just watch it with MRI’s in the future but the symptoms of headache, double vision, and other pain could come and go and you would never know when or where. He is going to have surgery on April 26th to either do a biopsy or remove it completely depending upon what the doctor finds on the day of surgery. All in all it was a very good report and we feel very comfortable with the Doctor (who is younger than me), the hospital, and the course of treatment. God is working and we ask that you keep praying for the surgery.

  20. cycleguy says:

    Thanks Dusty. Man, I wish everyone could read your last paragraph. Would/might change a whole lot of perceptions of people. Kudos on the rest also. 🙂

  21. cycleguy says:

    Thanks Jim and there you have it folks. I asked you to pray for Jim’s father-in-law. What a powerful answer to prayer. Keep praying for Jim (his name) and the family.

  22. Zee says:

    Dusty: completely agree. that’s what i meant by my “sheepolution” 😀

    Although i sort of understood this concept before (ministering to your pastor), being on the Church board made me REALLY aware of this. there are days when i seriously wonder how the pastors manage the pressure.

  23. cycleguy says:

    Easy Zee. We tender our resignation every Monday. That is why I wrote about having 1820 of them. 🙂

  24. Zee says:

    Bill: but you haven’t given up 😉 that’s what really matters 🙂

    that proves the point that we serve an awesome God 🙂

  25. cycleguy says:

    Zee: I have to agree on all counts. 😮

  26. Ike says:

    First, I would like to say that anyone outside of Christ cannot do a “good work”. An unsaved person giving millions to a cause is NOT a “good work”.

    I forget who stated that the Church is not that much different than the world….are you kidding me? The “Church” is beautiful…she is humble and she loves her Lord. When she steps off the path…our Lord lovingly disciplines her and brings her back. The problem is….we don’t know what the church is anymore. Salvation has been reduced down to…”did you say a prayer and ask Jesus to come into your heart?” No one is saved by saying a “prayer”….we are saved when God does a work of regeneration and we believe in the Christ and repent of our sins. We are not sinless….but we are talking about a lifestyle. A genuine christian lives a life of continued repentance and confession. It ain’t no one time “deal”.
    Read Matthew chapter 7!! Of all the people who emphatically call Me Lord….of these people….only a few will enter the kingdom.

    P.S. Sorry pastor….but the greatest mission field is the american evangelical church where millions of people think themselves saved because some “boy” preacher told them if they repeat a prayer they are saved. It’s pathetic.

  27. Linda M says:

    hi cycleguy,
    i don’t know if I have anything to say about ministering to Pastors and their family but I would like to try. Isn’t this what the Bible calls being a fool?
    i’m beginning to think we are dealing with a system of church that has gone awry. The Pastor sometimes sets himself up and the church system sets the Pastor up on a ‘pedestal’. He/She is perfect. They are so perfect they don’t need help and they are able to help a multitude of others. In fact, that is what they have education for and what they are being paid for.
    If a Pastor shows weakness and ministry need for himself, his/her capabilites as a faultless leader are in question. In fact their whole spirituality and their relationship with God is questioned.
    Where has this thinking come from? I think the system and heirarchy leadership styles. The Bible says the first will be last and the last will be first.

  28. Zee says:

    Linda: just to make sure i got what you’re saying… the pastor cannot show any weaknesses or the pastors don’t usually show weaknesses because they want to prove that they are ideal? i got a little confused there…

  29. Linda M says:

    Hi Zee,
    I think it is difficult for a Pastor to be real because of the expectations that are put on him/her.
    I think Pastors are caught between a rock and a hard place. Doomed if they do and doomed if they don’t so to speak.
    I am thinking there is not alot of options. Either perform to expectations or you’re out of a job with no reference letter from that congregation. I think expectations are high on pastors from every direction.
    From the denomination head office, from the church board and congregation members, from their own expectations as a leader of God’s people. Maybe a combination of both aspects that you mention Zee. This is my thinking on this issue. You said in your blog that there were alot of expectations on you as a family member of a Pastor. and you were a kid!!

  30. Linda M says:

    Hi Ike,
    Sorry to disagree with you on the ‘good work’. i think those desperate people (saved and unsaved) on the receiving end will think of it as a good work and give thanks and praise to God. God gets the glory.

    I think you might be having a crisis with the ‘church’. I know I am. It started in earnest a few months ago but has been coming on for a long time.
    I do agree that there is a people of God and then the ‘church institution’ as we know it in North America.
    I am glad to know that there are people out there who have some very challenging questions for the status quo in our churches. I agree that I thought the way to salvation was to believe in your heart and confess with your mouth.( a one time thing). The Bible says ‘the just shall live by faith’. The book of James says ‘show me your faith without works and I’ll show you my faith by my works’. The Gospels’ say ‘love your enemies’. By this love you will know that you are the Sons of God. I’m sure there are umpteen more scriptures that say there is more to this walk (or run) to eternal life than a few spoken words.
    My church crisis has become a total crisis at this time. I’ve been shown the door of the church and I think God has been directing me out the door at the same time. My world has been shaken up badly. There isn’t much left of it right now. I kind of think that’s where God wants me to be. He has proved to me that I can make some very hard choices and decisions. and that I do this because I love him. Does that sound like pride? I am proud of myself!

  31. cycleguy says:

    I approved these but will not comment as it is my day off. I will allow you all to respond and will check it later. I may also respond later as well.

  32. Ike says:

    Hi Linda…sorry, but I’m sticking with the impossibility of an unsaved person doing any “good” work. Outside of Christ….”we” really are totally depraved and “our” good works are “filthy rags”.