22 June 2009


I got one of those viral, get-to-know-your-friends emails today that included the question "what do you dislike the most in people?" or something. I answered, Deception. And look what was in my inbox this evening, but Desiring God by John Piper:

"John 4:17-18: “The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right [or well] in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”

I find that very strange at first glance. What is he doing? Sandwiched between “You are right” in verse 17 and “What you have said is true” in verse 18 is a statement that is devious. She is using the truth to hide something. “I have no husband.” Jesus says, “You have spoken well in saying you have no husband. You’ve had five. And you are right, you don’t have a husband, but you are living with a man, and he is not your husband.” You really know how to use the truth to mislead people.

I think this is irony. “Well said. You are a real truth-teller.” What is being exposed here is something that almost always goes hand in hand with secret sin, namely, a devious, subtle, manipulation of language to conceal the truth by saying true things. Devious people don’t usually lie. It’s too risky. They deceive by the way they use the truth.

Deviousness in Our Day

This is incredibly prevalent in our own day. Some people know they are doing it, and others are so conformed to the spirit of the age that they don’t they are doing it—and may not even know there is such a thing as a use of language that has integrity (2 Corinthians 2:17; 4:2). People that don’t have a deep, secure, satisfied, rest of soul in the living water of Jesus’ holy fellowship tend to slide toward subtle uses of language designed to cloud truth with words, even true words."