Read Acts 7
Focus on verse 54
Deception’s response to truth…
Nothing sounds more outrageous to a person who is sincerely deceived than when they hear the truth. People who have grown comfortable with the darkness of deception find the light of truth offensive and perhaps even painful. This is why when truth is declared with boldness the response is sometimes violent.
When one of our sons was a toddler, and learning to talk, he learned to use the phrase, “don’t say that to me any more!” with great emphasis when he would hear us tell him something he did not want to hear.
In today’s reading Stephen delivers a synopsis of Jewish history, followed by an interpretation and application of how it bears upon current events of that time. There was nothing false in what He said, nothing overtly offensive other than the truth of what had transpired, yet the response of his audience in nothing short of Demonic rage.
Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. (v. 54)
The rage of the Jews who opposed him was fueled primarily by the fact that they could not refute what Stephen had just said, so they did what frustrated angry people do when they know they are wrong but want very much to be right – they attacked him physically.
We have seen some of this kind of behavior in this latest round of presidential elections. Emotions have run very high in both camps, and on occasion when irrefutable truth has been brought to bear against one candidate or the other, the response has often been primarily emotional, and in a few cases violent.
I believe the root of this violence and hatred that periodically flares up is a classic example of deception’s response to truth. When lying about it no longer is effective, one has to up the anti to keep people in line. This typically breeds more deception, hatred and lies. Interestingly, we do not have to believe it. We are free to choose how we will respond, just as citizens are free to vote according to their conscience when they go to the polls.