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False Advertising

False Advertising

Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:13

I remember, as a kid, being offended by false advertising. I’d see an amazing burger in a commercial – piled high with toppings – but when it arrived on my plate, it looked nothing like the advertisement. The promise of a product never lived up to its disappointing reality. I was offended when I realized that advertisements lied, using deceit to get me to desire something.

Looking back, I see my drug addiction in a similar light. The first time I took those pills, they promised something spectacular. I went through what most addicts experience – using is fun at first. Eventually though, I experienced the next phase of addiction – enslavement. As my brain became dependent on the drug, I had to use just not to feel sick. This isn’t fun anymore. What happened to the good times? Finally, after years of use, my addiction caught up with me, tearing my life apart. What started out as a pursuit of euphoria, transformed into a nightmare as I destroyed everything good in my life.

Deceit is the tool that evil has employed since the beginning. In today’s passage, God confronted Eve about eating the forbidden fruit. Eve confessed, telling God how the serpent deceived her. How did the serpent deceive? False advertising. The serpent told Eve that she wouldn’t die as God had said. Rather, the serpent promised enlightenment. God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5). The serpent used half-truths to fool Eve. Yes, the fruit tasted wonderful. No, she didn’t die immediately. And yes, her eyes were opened to good and evil. But when the painful consequences of her sin became apparent, Eve realized she’d been conned.

Our problem is that we don’t think things through, so we’re susceptible to this con. We see immediate gratification and we impulsively want it. Indulging feels good and so we repeat it – a lot – becoming addicted. Then, only later, do we realize that being addicted is miserable. Only as the consequences of our self-destruction rain down, do we wish we could go back and avoid the behavior in the first place. But it’s too late. We’ve bought into the lie and now we must pay the price.

Evil always promises one thing and delivers another. If we desire to avoid the inherent self-destruction of our own nature, we must learn to think things through. Does this behavior lead me towards my way and misery? Or does it lead to God’s way and authentic life? Daily, the choice is ours.

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