Throwing the hook
Charles Caleb Colton, 1780-1832, said, "Falsehood is never so successful as when she baits her hook with truth, and no opinions so fatally mislead us, as those that are not wholly wrong."
I found this little tidbit as the teaser to, of all things, a bridge column titled "When in trouble, try to mislead."
Good advice when you're playing bridge, right in line with the adage to hold onto a "poker face" when playing cards for money.
Easier said than done. Apparently, I have yet to master the whole "poker face" ability.
One day, in our shared Child Nutrition office, my boss's boss came in. Their conversation wasn't confidential, but since I wasn't part of the conversation, I didn't want to appear to be actively listening, so I tended to the duties on my desk, doing my best to wear a disinterested look on my face.
I knew I had failed miserably when her boss remarked, "Well, I can tell Dawn doesn't think much of that."
Poker face aside, the quote by Colton, an English cleric, writer and collector, is as true today as it was when he penned it sometime early in the 1800s.
In fact, it must be number one on the list of do's and don'ts offered in Satan's workshops, given its prevalence in this day and age when knowledge is king.
None of us are immune, in fact, those who search for truth may be at greater risk than those who skim the surface of life and avoid the deeper waters, fearing there may be dragons there. That sometimes elusive "truth" can take us down many a rabbit hole, especially when it serves only as bait.
It seems quite likely that many politicians have taken the bait and, I'm sorry to say, some religious leaders, many of whom have since fallen from grace, may have as well, though the accusation is not made to either group without noting their good intentions, their pure motives, at least at the outset.
A popular television commercial years ago featuring video of healthy, growing children happily at play, intones, "No one says, 'when I grow up, I want to be a drug addict,' or 'when I grow up, I want to be a thief.'"
Choices made along the way result in happy, healthy children ending up in rehab wards or behind bars.
Choices made along the way also result in people in positions of leadership somehow wandering far afield of their intended goals.
And those choices, all too often, are baited with truth. But by the time the hook is set, it is often far too late to throw it and escape.
I know whereof I speak. I once had the baited hook of truth in my mouth and was being reeled in, hook, line and sinker, completely enchanted by the ride, until a falsehood too big to swallow loomed like a dark shadow cast just below the water's surface. I barely escaped.
I was reminded of those days as Glenn Beck announced, repeatedly, his "Restoring Honor" event Aug. 28.
The religious and political blogs were rife with comments, with some evangelical Christians jumping on the bandwagon, largely because of Beck's staunch stand on the sanctity of marriage, a noble cause. I have sporadically watched the Glenn Beck show, though often not for the entire hour, because I'm afraid the neighbors might call in a disturbing the peace call to local law enforcement if they hear me yelling at the television.
He is quite an entertainer and I do not doubt for a moment the authenticity of his motives. He sees many things going seriously wrong in our country and in our world and he speaks out against them, quite passionately, to the dismay of mainstream media, political pundits and the liberal left.
That he often uses the language of faith is what troubles me.
The hook you see, baited with truth all those years ago, was cast out by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormons. The dark shadow of falsehood that loomed over me that day was the teaching that black men were forbidden to serve in the priesthood. This teaching was nullified by a revelation in 1978, I threw the hook in 1973.
Further study through the years has revealed other, continuing problems reconciling the teaching of this great church with Holy Scripture, with the identity of the person of Jesus Christ, and even the identity of God the Father.
I did not watch the "Restoring Honor" event. I did see some of the news coverage. The teeming crowds all along the reflecting pool in Washington D.C., was, in a word, frightening.
Frightening, because Beck's passion is contagious. Frightening, because so much of what he says is wrong is true, things are going horribly awry in this nation. But it is especially frightening to me because I know that many in that crowd believe that they are supporting and following a brother in Christ and I'm afraid of where this may lead.
We have become a nation of illiterates. Oh, we can read and write. But do we know what the Bible says on any given issue of the day? What does the Bible say about those who believe? Is any man forbidden to call on the name of the Lord? What does the Bible say about God? What does the Bible say about our eternal future? I have a friend who proudly states that Scripture is true, but who readily admits he's never read it. He is, therefore, vulnerable to anyone who speaks the language of faith, who baits his hook with just enough truth to snag him.
"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." 1 John 4:1 NIV
I don't have all the answers, but I know the One who does. Let's walk together for awhile and discover Him; together.