Tag Archives: Scott Peck

People of the Lie

People of the Lie (CaD Jude 1) Wayfarer

For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you.
Jude 1:4a (NIV)

Wendy and I recently spent the evening with a young couple, enjoying a leisurely dinner followed by casual conversation. Among the many topics of our conversation that evening was the current state of culture and discourse in our world. A repeated phrase I heard that evening was, to paraphrase, “if only people would just be kind to others.”

Wendy and I later discussed this simple sentiment and the fact that no matter how much we desire such an elementary and obvious expectation of others, there have always been those who will not do so. There have always been those whose blind self-centered and self-gratifying nature mark them, as Scott Peck named them, “people of the lie.”

Today’s chapter is an oft-forgotten one-hit-wonder stuck in at the end of the Great Story. Jude is most likely the half-brother of Jesus and brother of James, leader of the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem. He pens this quick letter warning to fellow believers about “people of the lie” who had been worshipping among followers of Jesus. In modern terms, the Urban Dictionary’s definition of “poser” might just be an apt moniker.

In those days, there were no church buildings. Followers of Jesus met together regularly in people’s homes. Their potluck meals doubled as opportunities to worship, meet the needs of one another, and would end with the sacrament of communion. Jesus’ followers called them “Love Feasts.” These people of the lie would join the fellowship, eat and drink to excess, take advantage of generosity, and then claim that if Jesus’ grace increases to cover a multitude of sins, then it would only make sense to sin more so that there would be more of Jesus’ grace produced.

The thing that I found fascinating as I read Jude’s warnings about these people of the lie is that he starts by providing historic examples of such characters from the Great Story: Cain, Balaam, and Korah.

He then provides metaphorical descriptions of the posers who had infiltrated the Love Feasts of the believers to whom he was penning the letter:

  • Shepherds who feed only themselves (not their sheep)
  • Clouds without rain
  • Autumn trees with no fruit
  • Untamed, wild waves of the sea
  • Wandering stars getting sucked into a Black Hole

Jude then ends with the “apostles” warning that in “the last times” these people of the lie would be everywhere, scoffing at Truth, following their base appetites, and creating division among believers.

In other words, people of the lie have always been around, they were present among Jude and his contemporaries, and they will still be around in the end times.

I couldn’t help but notice that Jude’s antidote to the “people of the lie” problem was not to create an inquisitorial committee to root out the evil. The answer was not to find these people, hold a trial, and hang those found guilty. The things Jude admonished his fellow believers to do were intensely personal:

  • Keep exercising and building up your own faith
  • Keep praying in the Spirit
  • Keep yourself in God’s love
  • Be patient
  • Wait for Jesus’ mercy
  • Be merciful to others
  • Save others through mercy and respect
  • Keep your own nose clean

So in the quiet this morning, I find myself circling back to our young friends’ sincere desire for “everyone to just be kind to one another” and balancing it with Jude’s observation that people of the lie have always been a part of the mix in this world, they are part of the mix now, and they will likely be an even bigger part of the mix when history reaches the final, climactic chapters of the Great Story. This is a reality that I must always consider as I look around me and try to interpret the signs of the times.

As for me, I’m just going to continue to press on in faith, hope, and love; Just another wayfaring stranger making my way home.

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

Becoming the Evil from Which I’ve Been Delivered

So all the officials and people who entered into this covenant agreed that they would free their male and female slaves and no longer hold them in bondage. They agreed, and set them free. But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again.
Jeremiah 34:10-11 (NIV)

I found today’s chapter in the anthology of the ancient prophet Jeremiah’s messages particularly fascinating. It is a series of messages given during the very time that Jerusalem, the capital city of the ancient nation of Judah, was besieged by the armies of Babylon. Judah’s King Zedekiah had issued a proclamation that all Hebrew slaves (in other words, the people of Judah had enslaved their own people) should be emancipated. After initially abiding by King Z’s emancipation proclamation, the slave owners reversed course, rounded up their former slaves, and returned the slaves to their chains.

In his book exploring the nature of evil, M. Scott Peck describes evil people as “pathologically attached to the status quo of their personalities” while “unceasingly engaged in the effort to maintain the appearance of moral purity.” I thought of those descriptors this morning as I read about the Hebrew slave owners who initially choose to appear obedient and upright in following the King’s edict, but then quickly put their own slaves back in shackles and maintained the status quo of the evil of slavery. The Hebrew people, whose ancestors had been freed from slavery in Egypt, had in effect become their Egyptian masters. While maintaining the appearance of being “God’s people” they were unable to see that they had become the very evil from which their own people had been delivered.

This morning in the quiet I’ve been doing a bit of my own gut-check. Somehow I’m sensing that it’s too easy to wag my self-righteous, 21st century fingers at the ancient Hebrew slave owners. Where in my own life do I make effort to keep up appearances of goodness while simultaneously maintaining a destructive status quo in my behaviors and relationships? Ugh.

I may be able to look back and see that have made spiritual progress on this life journey, but I can still look inside, then look ahead, and see how far I have to go. And with that, my spirit whispers an ancient prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Note to my readers:  As much I’d like to think that slavery has been outlawed and eradicated by our enlightened society, reading a few stories from groups such as International Justice Mission (an organization Wendy and I support) are a reminder that the evil of slavery addressed in Jeremiah’s ancient message is very much alive in the world we live in today. One practical way to make a tangible difference for good is to make a donation to IJM’s efforts or any one of many similar organizations. Peace.