Hello weekend readers. I have been musing quite a bit over the distortion of ads we see on TV, as well as signage, etc. It’s one reason I love my DVR! I can record what I like on TV and then watch it when I want to and while watching, I can fast-forward right through all the ads. It’s the only way to keep sane and get the distortion out of my life!

Distortion pushes people to do awful things to themselves and others. You start looking for loopholes to get out of something or using another persons’ problems to cover your own foibles. It seems as if character-bashing is the in-thing to do, and sadly, it seems to be done without remorse or any care of the hurt that happens. This is the deadly game of distortion! Who doesn’t fall into that trap—it catches us all and sadly, like water swirling in an eddy, we make up our loopholes and swirl away in them creating more distortion!

The comedian W. C. Fields, loved to find loopholes and expose others’ faults. For himself, however, that was another thing. His ego was so big he even felt God was just a puppet. Right up to where he died, he was still flipping through the pages of the Bible trying to “look for loopholes” because he wasn’t sure about heaven or hell. Indeed his distortion of God’s power and grace was now right in front of him and he had a choice to make, for him the search for loopholes was his answer–ouch.

Adam and Eve were the first to encounter distortion. In Genesis 3:1-5 [Message] we read:

“The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal God had made. He spoke to the Woman: “Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?” The Woman said to the serpent, “Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’” The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.”

Notice the Devil knew God’s words very well. We often don’t think of that. In fact, from Eden to today that wily liar has been reading the Scriptures and twisting and distorting God’s words to deceive God’s children, and—like Adam and Eve, we still for it—especially when we need a loophole to get out of one of our own tough situations.

Like the TV ads, it’s easy to distort and deceive. You can imagine the Devil saying to Eve, “O honey, if God really loved you, he would let you eat from any tree you want. Since he says no on that one tree it’s clear he doesn’t really love you”—talk about distortion! The Devil did the same thing with Jesus when he tempted him by quoting Scriptures and leaving out parts of the original text. Unlike Adam and Eve, Jesus didn’t buy it. Instead, he lived by truth and spoke with truth, which even today is the Devil’s greatest annoyance!

Distortion reigns today. Remember that old saying “if the offer seems too good to be true it is?” Distortion deceives and destroys lives. We’ve all been touched with it, but hopefully, our faith in God gives us the strength to find truth and live that truth instead of lies and finding loopholes. I thought you might like the top 5 of loopholes that people commonly use today: Momentary Mourning, The Percentage Plea, Institutional Cynicism, Hiding in the Herd, and The Giftedness Game. Tim Keller used these in his book Center Church. He summed up the distortion like this: “The gospel is not just the ABCs, but the A to Z of the Christian life. The more we absorb the gospel, the less necessary each loophole becomes and the stronger we become against the Devil’s distortion.”

I’m closing with a Scripture from Ephesians 4:27-29 NTE, that we can all “hang on to” when we are deceived, distorted and seeking a loophole. I hope it gives you encouragement and the strength to stand in God’s truth in your journey of faith in this world. AMEN.

“Don’t leave any loophole for the devil. The thief shouldn’t steal any longer, but should rather get on with some honest manual work, so as to be able to share with people in need. Don’t let any unwholesome words escape your lips. Instead, say whatever is good and will be useful in building people up, so that you will give grace to those who listen.”