Billy Graham Tribune Content Agency

Is deception just a form of persuasion?

Apr 27, 2019

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Q: My grandmother is always saying, “Things are not always what they seem.” Others tell me that deception is just a form of persuasion. What does all that mean? — D.O.

A: A distinguished Methodist minister, many years ago, was preaching on sin. Some deacons approached him afterward and said, “We don’t want you to talk so plainly about sin; if you do, our people will more easily become sinners. Call their sin mistakes if you will, but do not call their mistakes sin.”

The minister picked up a small bottle and showed it to the group of deacons. The bottle was clearly marked “Poison.” “Would you like me to change the label?” the minister asked. “I can mark that this strychnine is the essence of peppermint to make you feel better, but if you take it you will still die. Don’t you see that the milder you make the label, the more dangerous you make the poison?”

Satan is the great deceiver. He is a crafty and clever, disguising his lies as truth. For his deceptions to be successful, they must be so cunningly devised that his real purpose is concealed. This is manifested even in the spirits of people. We see ourselves as self-sufficient, self-important, and self-sustaining. God sees us as dependent, self-centered, and self-deceived.

One of Satan’s greatest feats is to portray evil as good. He makes alcohol look fun. He makes immorality look pleasurable. He makes popularity enticing. When reality sets in, people realize they’ve been tricked and trapped by his devices. But it is the people who listen and follow his pathway that will ultimately pay the awful price.

Jesus came to rescue us from his terrible grip and said, “Take heed that no one deceives you” (Matthew 24:4). We must pray for God to give the spirit of discernment, and through the reading of His Word, He will give understanding.


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)


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