“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” – Bible

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we practice to deceive.” – Walter Scott

Last week we talked about the insidiousness of deception. As Walter Scott said, deception becomes a web so twisted that we are no longer certain what is true, and we usually get tripped up in our own lies.

We all are involved in deception at some level. We meet a friend on the street. “Hi, how you doing?” “Great, good to see you.” Two potential deceptions right there. We aren’t feeling great, and they don’t fit into the category of people we look forward to seeing.

When does the deception become harmful enough to avoid? Good question. Guess it depends on our source of values and how closely we adhere to them.

There are many deceptions going on today that are extremely harmful. Note how in all cases the deceiver is also being deceived.

Pornography is rooted in deception and gets its growth through continued deception. In spite of thinking to the contrary, explicit and graphic sexual images are not good and satisfying.

The use of pornography by married couples will not enhance their sex life. In reality, pornography destroys marriages, degrades primarily women and promotes the idea that they are merely sex objects to be used and abused.

Gambling, as defined in a Focus on the Family Issue Analysts article, is “the art and science of intentional deception that feeds on the exploitation of human weakness for the sole purpose of monetary gain.” It leads to crime and destroys relationships both at home and at work.

Video games are becoming a serious addiction among both adults and children. According to Online Gamers Anonymous, 8.5 percent of American youth playing video games are clinically addicted. Online Gamers Anonymous was founded by Elizabeth (Liz) Woolley after her son committed suicide while logged in to a video game.

Given the above and many other forms of deception which can wreak havoc on relationships, of crucial concern is the deception that divorce is the correct answer to a marriage that is having difficulty.

Quoting Cheryl Scruggs, in an article by published by Focus on the Family, “Marriages ending in divorce are at a pandemic level. Lies lure us away from God’s plan for marriage, as we depend more on what our culture says rather than what the Bible instructs us.” She goes on to list a number of deceptions that lead us to divorce.

Deception No. 1 – We married the wrong person. What initially attracted us to our spouse often becomes an irritation. We find that they are different from us. Marriage becomes exciting and fulfilling when we support each other’s unique qualities and learn to blend together to make a life that is much richer than we could ever have achieved on our own.

Deception No. 2 – We misunderstand love. Somehow we are deceived into thinking that love is a noun only. It’s much more than that. Love becomes real when it becomes a verb. The successful marriage is based on a love that requires constant nurturing and is unconditional.

Real love is “patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Deception No. 3 – We believe we deserve to be happy. Maybe the biggest deception perpetrated on us is that we deserve anything. Deserve implies having earned it, as in having worked for it. Real happiness in marriage, or maybe the better word is “joy,” comes when we work at it, i.e. “exerting effort directed to produce or accomplish something.”

Finally, the greatest deception of all is thinking we are incapable of being deceived. “There but for the grace of God go I.” “Judge not lest you be judged.” Guard your hearts, and your marriage.

The Family and Marriage Coalition of Aiken, Inc. (FAMCO) provides resources for you to succeed in your marriage and families. Roger Rollins, Executive Director, FAMCO, 640-4689, rogerrollins@aikenfamco.com, www.aikenfamco.com.