Wednesday, 26 February 2014


Have you ever been scammed? I have and to this day I still feel a tinge of pain when I remember the incident. It happened some years ago, when I was invited to do business with a pastor who had set up an investment company. 

I was initially sceptical but changed my mind when I heard about others who had benefited from the business. Besides he was a pastor, right?

Long story short, he was a con artist! He disappeared with the money and the hopes of many people, me included. As sad as my experience was, I was lucky. I didn’t lose too much money, but I heard stories of people who lost all their life savings to that fraudster.

Not only does deception cause people to lose money, (some have lost their health or even their lives) it makes one full of regret and even anger. The victim usually feels silly for believing a lie.

And just like my experience shows, even ‘pastors’ or religious people can be deceptive. Who can forget the murder of 909 people in 1978 by a man of God called Rev. Jim Jones in Guyana? The members of his church had trusted him, but paid dearly with their lives.

To this day, deception continues to thrive. I believe it is the greatest tool of the devil. The funny thing is, it is not new. He did the same thing to Eve in the Garden of Eden (Click here for steps of deception). Like her, it’s easy to be deceived because it often comes from a reputable source. Think about it. Eve was not deceived by the devil disguised as a fire breathing, scary monster, but as a serpent, one of the creatures she knew and trusted.
One of the main sources of deception today is the society/media which is usually seen as trustworthy. Sadly they are promoting some destructive views in the name of being modern and 21st century-ish. 

Women who wear revealing clothes are praised for being ‘sexy’, immorality is celebrated and the quest for material things, even at the expense of family life, is encouraged. People who decide not to join the mainstream are labelled ‘old school’ and disregarded.

There is huge pressure to go with the flow, but we have to remember that just because many people believe in a lie does not make it true. The Bible is full of examples which confirm that God doesn’t always work with the popular opinion. One way He loves to go against the status quo is by using people who are considered weak and unsuitable by majority of the society, to do great things. 

Examples of such weak people are Joseph, Moses, Gideon, David, Ruth and Rahab the prostitute. Ruth and Rahab were women and non Jewish. In a patriachal Jewish society, they were irrelevant, yet God chose them to be the ancestors of the Messiah, Jesus.  And Jesus who knew what it meant to be rejected by many, especially the 'experts' and elite of his day, said,
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” – Matthew 7:13. In other words, majority is not always right.

Another source of deception especially among Christians is from the clergy. The other day I read the story of a pastor in an African country who ordered his congregation to eat grass as an act of faith. Surprisingly they did! 

While this story may sound funny though bizarre, there are other very tragic stories where priests/pastors have destroyed lives and families with their deceptive and manipulative messages. Again this is nothing new, even from Old Testament times, we read over and over how angry God was with the priests and prophets who led others astray with their false messages. You might want to look up Jeremiah 23:9-4 and Ezekiel 13:1-23

Unfortunately for victims of deception, ignorance and naivety do not spare them from the subsequent loss and pain. It certainly didn’t spare me from being scammed, in fact my ignorance made me a gullible victim.

The Bible says in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” And in 1 John 4:1, it says, Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

In both Bible passages, we are told how to avoid deception, and it is through knowledge. 

This kind of knowledge is the one that takes effort, a do-it-yourself kind (Click here for DIY Christianity). It involves checking things out for yourself, not being close-minded, or believing everything we hear. 

It also means using good ol’ common sense and not making decisions in a hurry. As Christians, we have the added advantage of the Word of God and His Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth.

It is God’s desire that we enjoy a fulfilled life, not one of regrets and pain. If we will take the time to know Him on a personal level and study the Bible, not as a routine but for knowledge, then we will avoid pitfalls.

Know this, God has great thoughts towards you, He wants to give you a great life (Jeremiah 29:11). But the devil, the enemy of your soul is a thief who wants to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). His all time favourite weapon of choice? Deception!

Our destinies are too great to be forfeited because of deception. Let’s do everything necessary to gain knowledge. 
On a parting note, Isaiah 7:9 says, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” –In other words, if you do not hold on to God’s word, you will believe anything. 

God bless!

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