December 18, 2017

Deceiving and Being Deceived

Bob Jones, Jr.

faith-for-the-familyMany years ago an “ex-con’’’ man said to me, “The easiest person to ‘con’ is’ another con man,” Since most readers of FAITH are respectable and, we hope, godly people perhaps we had better define some terms and translate this sentence into the sort of English they will understand. A “Confidence man,” commonly abbreviated as “con man” is a criminal who, by reason of personal charm, a glib tongue, and a ready wit preys upon the innocent and unsuspecting. He can sell anything from gold bricks to the Brooklyn Bridge, from worthless stock in a nonexistent company to underwater “beachfront” property in the Sahara. It would seem logical, therefore, that a Man who lives by this kind of trickery would be the last person in the world w be taken in by it; but according to my ex-confidence man, this is not the case at all. The professional deceiver is the most easily deceived.

The Bible tells us that the same thing is true in the field of religion, II Timothy 3:13 describes those who are “deceiving, and being deceived.” Setting out to lie to others, they soon find themselves believing their own lies, and falling for the falsehoods of others. There is something about the lie that entraps the liar: An actor, a politician, or, for that matter, an evangelist who hires a press agent or a public relations firm to create an image of himself for the purpose of deceiving the public will soon come to believe the lies ‘and misrepresentation for which he is paying. The Scripture tells us that when a man turns away from the truth, he is turned to fables. No man can set out to deceive other men, whether it be on matters of doctrine and religious experience or on some other point, without becoming “sucker” for his own falsehoods. Deception always boomerangs and returns to smite the man who cast it forth, When a man propagates what he knows is a falsehood and an untruth, he soon forgets that it is a falsehood. He begins to believe it and becomes a prey not only to his own lies but also to other deceptions.

What is true of the professional crook is also true of the religious “con man.” He is the easiest person in the world to “con.” In fact, he even “cons” himself.

The late Dr. Bob Jones, Jr., was the Chancellor of Bob Jones University.

This editorial was first published in Faith for the Family, May/June 1973 and is used by permission.

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