By Allen White
Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart. Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. Though their speech is charming, do not believe them for seven abominations fill their hearts. Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. Proverbs 26:23-26
When I was 12-years-old I spent a week with my Grandma White. She was a remarkable person. Grandma survived her husband by about 40 years, raised 12 children, cared for foster children after her own children were grown, and volunteered to help “senior citizens.” To date, between children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren, there are 120 of us and growing annually.
During that summer week, my grandma and I volunteered serving the elderly. It seemed like a fine line between the volunteers and the elderly in some cases. We visited neighbors, and we made ceramics.
I decided to work on a turtle. Now, I didn’t create the turtle myself. I started with the clay greenware. My grandma showed me how to clean it up and smooth out the rough edges. At the end of the process, we had a clay turtle. Then, I applied some magic paint.
The paint went on white, but once the ceramic was fired in the kiln, it came out a mix of green and brown. The clay turtle was now turtle colored - - not through and through, but on the outside.
Now, I wasn’t trying to convince anyone this was a taxidermy version of a real turtle. It was a ceramic turtle. But, in this passage, Solomon points to evil and deceitful people who disguise themselves much like the turtle color disguised the clay.
These people are experts at manipulation and making everything sound great, even when things aren’t close to great. They work so hard at deceiving others, they often deceive themselves in the process.
Some say, “Perception is reality.” But, in all honesty, “Reality is reality.” Sometimes “Perception is deception.” It’s someone else’s version of reality, even if that someone else is us.
Deceitful people are often broken and insecure. Rather than doing the hard work of growing to health and healing, instead they work hard at covering their tracks and manipulating things to get their way. This behavior receives a rather strong label in Scripture – evil.
It’s not “he’s just a victim and thus victimizes others.” It’s not “bless his heart, this is how he’s always been.” This is “he is choosing to go his own way and refuses to allow God to help him.”
Rather than honestly confessing what needs transformation, he just puts on another coat of shellac. We know people who put it on thick, don’t we? The bigger question is: Are we those people?
What do we feel is easier to cover up than expose? What bad thing are we trying to put a good face on?
It’s okay to be clay. God knows we’re fragile. He remembers we came from dust (Psalm 103:13-14). God loves us the way we are, but He loves us too much to leave us there. No shellac!
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