Surrender of Illusions (Ephesians 4:25)

Surrender of Illusions (Ephesians 4:25)

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. (Ephesians 4:25 ESV)

This strikes me as one of the most profound things I’ve ever read. In context, putting away all falsehood is a result, or a part, of “putting on” the new self after rejecting the old. I think the latter, on reflection, as what Paul implies here is not merely the eschewing of blatant falsehood but the surrender of illusions.

I’ll let that sink in for a sec.

So what does it mean to surrender our illusions? Well, we all have them, firstly. There is not a man, woman or child living that doesn’t tell themselves comforting stories about their environment to “civilize” their situations, their surroundings and their relationships with others. We ignore things we’re uncomfortable with and replace the truth with conveniently painted lies to make life less painful, make each breath a little easier. We “accentuate the positive” by simply focusing our attention there more firmly. How many people do you know whose lives echo the drama they see on television or in the movies, who are constantly weaving great epics around themselves? I know plenty, and I’m sure you do too.

But what Paul is calling us to here is in stark contrast with this common behavior. He’s calling us to place our faith in the truth, to embrace it and not color over its rougher parts nor paint the brighter bits in neon. We’re called to put away falsehood, let go of our illusions about ourselves and our standing before God and man, BUT WHY?

In this verse (and its context), I see an if-then relationship. Before we can speak the truth to each other and have it be of any use, be believable in any way, we MUST rid ourselves of illusion and live on the solid rock that is that truth. If we don’t live the truth, how can we expect people to believe the truth?

In case anyone is thinking that letting go of illusions is easy, ask yourself this: what have I loved this week more than God, and how was I hiding from that truth? What sins have I committed this week and rationalized behind convenient ideas of relative morality, so abhorrent to God, but useful when I’m the perpetrator?

This scripture pierces me to the core, and I don’t like what it tells me about myself… but I submit to it and the Truth to which it points.

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