And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. – 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, NIV
It is hard to make sense of a experience when the words and actions do not match:
I am open to reconciliation. (But I am not open enough to stop committing adultery and lying to both you and the counselor.)
I want an “open and honest” conversation. (But I will keep you in the dark in regards to all the lies I’ve told you plus others about my affairs.)
I want a holy marriage. (The other man/woman I am committing adultery with is irrelevant to that goal as I see it.)
We, elders, care about you in this trying season. (Here’s your pink slip; we cannot have a divorced pastor leading our church whatever the reason.)
We care about you and think you need a break from ministry. (You will be removed from leadership and employment here; good luck funding your “break” on your own.)
So much of dealing with infidelity is utterly baffling.
What the unfaithful says is often hard to decipher for any sane and morally upright individual. Add to the confusion the often equally baffling–and harmful–responses of onlookers who think their “good intentions” absolve them from doing real damage to the faithful spouse (plus his/her family).
It can be both maddening and depressing.
Let’s not forget we live in a spiritual world. Satan loves darkness and confusion for both help him to operate in more freedom wrecking greater destruction.
One of the hardest parts for me was to realize some words were empty coming from my ex and others who proved themselves to be enemies and not actual friends. It took time for me to wrap my mind around the fact that what some of the words used denoted had absolutely nothing to do with how they were being used (see examples above). For a trusting individual like myself, this was a hard lesson to learn (and I am still learning it to be honest).
Besides the obvious–to me–notes of spiritual warfare involved with adultery, I chose the passage above to highlight how good sounding people or words can be a cover for dark evil. Just because it sounds righteous does not mean it is. Test it.
Let me give you a more extended example from my life:
A favorite phrase my now ex-wife used in counseling and even after the divorce was that she wanted an “open and honest” conversation. At face value, that sounds really good. It has the appeal of making her look virtuous. The goal is admirable.
But let me tell you, those words hid knives and clubs.
This phrase was employed like a smokescreen just before a brutal attack on my character and person as I remember it. To challenge the attack was to challenge her honesty. You don’t want me to be honest? Or it was to force her to hide the truth. You don’t want me to pretend, do you? All the while, her sinfully illicit relationship with another man remained covered with her copious lies.
So, the virtues of honesty and transparency were weaponized by the lie. She was being neither “open” nor “honest” yet claimed these noble words as a cloak for destruction. The saddest part of that is how she did not realize, like the false apostles mentioned in verse 15 above, that the destruction she was preparing was really her own.
The words “open and honest” are not the enemy. Light is not the enemy either even though Satan appears as an angel of light. I hope as each of you gets distance both emotionally and mentally from the madness that you will be able to sort the difference and draw the distinction.
The problem is not with the words; it is with the lies.
Keep that in mind when dealing with righteous sounding words.
Is there a lie being told here?
Do these people who say they care actually act in kindness or cruelty?
Is she really interested in being honest or just looking honest?