The Lie That Binds

The lie binds humanity together from Eve to me. It binds those who believe it by crippling their perspective of themselves, their world, and their God.

Had someone asked me a year ago, “Do you believe this lie?” I would have said, “No,” in the wounded tone of one who has been perceived unjustly. But God has a way of helping us see the real lie for what it is. This is the lie that bound me, that binds us.

God cannot be trusted to be enough or to give enough.

I expect any Christian reading this lie would yelp, “Of course I don’t believe it!” Maybe you don’t.  Maybe you do.  Maybe, like it was for me, the lie is hiding covered by another lie.

Let me start at the beginning. Eve got Eden and Eve got Adam and Eve got God.  She had the best stuff, marriage, and relationship with God.  Frankly, I think I’d take that and call that good enough. So why, when the serpent shows up, does she even listen to that slippery voice?

Every created being exists to glorify its creator. Some created beings are given the right to free will and these are the ones that have the potential to believe that God is not enough. When the serpent came to Eve, he first asked, “Did God really say that you are not supposed to eat of every tree in the garden?”[1] He planted two doubts with that question. The first doubt was, “Did you really hear right? Can you really trust yourself?”  The second, “Is God really being reasonable with you? Is God giving you enough?”

Having caused her to question herself and her God, the serpent has her where he wants her—ready to listen to the lie. “You will not surely die, for God knows that when you eat of that tree, you shall be as gods knowing both good and evil.”[2] Satan twisted truth into the lie to father all lies.

True: They didn’t die physically that day. They did become like gods, deciding their own standard of good and evil.

Truth: They died spiritually and emotionally that day. They were not gods, because the standard of good could only be God, no matter what they decided.

In a class I took under S. R. Brubaker, he described truth as “reality, revelation of the Word.” He went on to say that what is true is “an accurate description of truth.” As humans, our perception of reality was skewed from that moment for man’s relationship with God was broken. God (The Word) is Truth.  If we can no longer completely know God, then we can no longer know completely what is true.  We can’t accurately describe what we don’t know.

I’ve wanted to question Eve some days.  Why, Eve, would you want to know evil? You already knew good.  Why would you want to become like a god? Eve did not realize the full implications of believing Satan’s lie. Neither can we. Most of us don’t recognize the lie when it comes to us, because the slippery serpent covers the lie with other doubts, like he did with Eve.

That was my story. Who knows when it started, and really, no fingers should be pointed. As a young child, I felt the pressure to get the best grades I possibly could. I got the impression that a 94% average wasn’t good enough. Or maybe it was too good.  There were boys in my class who bullied me for being too smart (mainly, getting better grades than they did, even though they were in the grade above me). It didn’t matter what I did, I wasn’t good enough for them.

When I played sports, I wasn’t one of those girls who were good enough to get passed to in soccer, hockey, or basketball, but I wanted to be.  I played my heart out.  I decided that if they wouldn’t pass to me, then I would be the one to get it away from the other team and pass to them.  As I grew, I became the fastest runner amongst the girls in my class, breaking previous school records.  Even then, I was not accepted by those boys. I still wasn’t good enough.

As a teenager, I held to standards that many of my friends did not. Oh, I tried their music, but I never liked it. Even though the pressures of grades and athletics had dissipated, I still wasn’t enough.

Time passed, and I built a deep, joyful relationship with God. I went through years of believing that my Christian-ness was based on the depth of my devotional life, but even this lie was hurdled. I saw that God wanted my love in a relationship. Devotions may be a spiritual discipline, but they should be first, and foremost a result of me wanting to spend time with God.

After five years of teaching, I was burning out.  I had poured my heart into this, too.  In many ways it paid off; in others, I was disappointed. My intensity was pressuring others to feel like they weren’t good enough, even as I wondered.  “Why am I still here at seven again tonight, and she’s gone home a couple of hours ago? Why can’t I work faster, be more efficient, be satisfied with less preparation?” I still wasn’t good enough.

I prayed and found reasons (excuses) for my slowness.  “I’m still here because of all the time I spend helping other people.  I simply can’t focus as well after teaching a day of school as others can and that’s okay.”

Youth group was a similar story. On the older end, I watched girls younger than me marry and move on.  The younger youth sought their security in social media, movies, and cute clothes. I simply couldn’t connect with that or them. Then there was the way that they treated my sisters. I did what I could to help my sisters fit in but it wasn’t enough. I was exhausted.

As I settled into Faith Builders, I found like-minded people.  They too, were dedicated to giving their best, and although there were some who were certainly more literate about pop culture than I was, they weren’t consumed by it.  Finally, I could talk about some of the big issues that I had wrestled with.  I found safe people that affirmed who I was, and they allowed me to do the same to them. I found God in new, rich ways.

I also found a hardness inside of me that startled me.  When had I become bitter, not expecting people to treat me well? I thought I tended to be naive and gullible even. I thought I expected the best of people. Why had I changed?

While I was becoming aware of this, I had a casual conversation with an older woman, and she asked me—completely out of context with the conversation—“Is it because you think that you are not good enough?”

“Yes, I guess so.” I was startled.  When had I come to believe that lie?  I thought I had good self-esteem rooted in a love for God and others. However, as I looked back and saw what you have read in the previous paragraphs, I realized that believing this lie had come easily enough. It had simply been buried too deep to surface right away, and now in this safe place and time, I saw what God knew all along.  I was indeed a daughter of Eve.

In believing the lie that I wasn’t good enough, I was embracing the lie that God had short-changed me—that God wasn’t good enough. When I brought this bitterness and lie before God, He could handle it much better than I could, throwing it “as far as the east is from the west.”[3]

I am becoming more and more grateful for God’s perfection, His incredible love, and the gift of life that He has given me. As A. A. Van Ruler wrote,

Love gives life to all things.  It gives more than life; it gives reality.  Love creates.  Things receive reality and worth only when men love them.  The world is created, as it were, only when it is loved.  It is said of God that He created the world.  This is because He loved the world.  In and through love, the world first became real.[4]

What would it take for each broken person to realize that they are good enough, simply because God loves them into existence day by day?

Presently, our world revolves around the two lies. “I am not good enough.  God is not good enough.” Why buy beauty products? I don’t look good enough. Why chase possessions? God hasn’t given me enough. Why try to have it all together? God certainly doesn’t appear to, and so somebody should. Why help other people become better? God certainly hasn’t fixed them yet.

Most likely, some of you reading this have been told over and over by the actions of those closest to you that you aren’t good enough. Remember, they can’t know what is true more than God does, Who is Truth.

I expect that God cries over this world believing Satan’s lies. Jesus wept over Jerusalem before He died in her. He saw people making more laws and enslaving themselves to keep them, just to prove that they were good enough.  They had made themselves gods by establishing their own goodness, instead of claiming the goodness of God. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”[5]

Trust this.  God loves you enough to make you enough. He is good enough, because He exists. God is the summon bonnum, the good that makes all things good. God is enough.

 

 

 

[1] King James Version Bible, Genesis 3:1 paraphrased

[2] KJV, Genesis 3:4-5 paraphrased

[3] KJV, Psalm 103:12a

[4] Greene, Albert E. Reclaiming the Future of Christian Education. Purposeful Design Publications, 1998. Pg. 122

[5] King James Version Bible, John 3:16

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5 thoughts on “The Lie That Binds

  1. Yolanda! Not sure why I’m just coming across this, but I love it. This is so honest, and so good. Thank you for sharing your heart. I love you and I’m inspired when people share from the heart like this. ❤️

    Like

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