“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:8-9
I was so ready to be home. Our family had been walking around for hours. Nothing like shopping to weaken the body and soften the mind. I felt as if I had just taken a college entrance exam while hiking Everest. I had that hollow, thoughtless, numb feeling like you’re floating along, almost outside of your body. Needless to say I wasn’t all there.
We finally found the car in the endless mall parking lot. So glad I left it unlocked since I wasn’t sure I had the strength to press the clicker. I slipped into the seat, inserted my key, and tried to turn it. Nothing. Not a click, not a “whir-whir” of a drained battery attempting to start. Nothing. The key wouldn’t even turn. What could be wrong? I was about to pop the hood and drag out the jumper cables when I noticed the pine-tree air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror. “That’s weird. I don’t remember hanging that. Did someone sneak in while we were shopping? That would be a random joke.”
Then it hit me. And it hit everyone in the car at about the same moment. We started scrambling for door handles like the car was on fire. The scurry of noise continued as we dove out, then stood up to look around. We were playing it cool, giving off the whole “hey nothing to see here” vibe. We silently slipped away, and after we were a safe distance, we all burst out laughing. We had been in the wrong car! It looked just like ours, but it wasn’t.
In an instant, I had gone from being one-thousand-percent convinced this was my car, and frustrated that it wouldn’t start, to running away from it. I went from a state of foggy headed self-deception to instant horror at my error. Life is crazy like that sometimes. We can be so convinced something is true, so self-deceived that we are blinded to the truth. Yet in an instant all can become clear.
Sometimes the biggest lies we tell are the ones we tell ourselves, but we have a choice in that moment. What if I would have been like, “Kids! this is our car, I promise! Get back in right now!” That would have been ridiculous. Yet sometimes we do that with sin. Even when the truth becomes clear, we continue to try to deceive ourselves into believing a lie. But repentance is turning away from sin and seeking God’s forgiveness, and confessing our sin, which means agreeing with God that what we did was wrong.
We finally found our car, and it started, no problem. We kept laughing about it the whole way home. We were so glad the real owners didn’t come out while we were in their car. It was a simple mistake, but it served as a reminder of the power of self-deception. Oh, and I also lock my car now. I don’t want to find some other family sitting in it. Or air-fresheners.
Is there a situation like this that you’ve experienced, where you were so sure something was true, yet in an instant realize you were wrong? If so, share it. What changed your mind?
Holy Spirit, we thank you that you are at work in our lives, exposing our wrong beliefs. Help us to confess our sins and seek forgiveness from you. Help us to listen to your promptings and to hunger for truth in every part of life.