I listened to a man who said I could know the answers to unanswered questions about life, which no theologian had even given me–and which were never in my mind to begin with.
I listened to a man that said, “the Bible interprets itself,” not grasping that I was letting him interpret it for me.
I listened to a man who focused so much on Satan and the end of the world, that I was in fear that I would die if I didn’t listen to him.
I listened to a man, instead of just reading my Bible–as I used to do when I was a young man.
I listened to a man who dragged me through the streets and left me for dead.
Christ said to beware of false prophets. But I didn’t know how smooth they could sound, how sincere; how much like “light and truth.” I forgot they would appear as “angels of light.” I wasn’t looking for them–and no one warned me that I should. I wasn’t informed that Satan makes use of mind control.1 I think it must be one of his biggest weapons and comes under the heading of “evil.”
I never dreamed anything like this could ever happen to me. But when it did happen, I was as innocent as if someone took a gun to my head and robbed me of every last dime, beating me to a pulp in the process. Why didn’t I check out this huckster who ended up stealing my mind? Why didn’t I pray for discernment? Not truth, I say, but discernment. Why didn’t I prove the doctrines I took for granted growing up? Why was I so timid to ask others about him while I still had time? Why was I so thoughtless as to think that this one man, more than anyone else, had to be “God’s man,” and all others who said they were Christian, and preached differently, had to be–must be–phony? When blindness finally comes, it is impossible to see through that darkness.
Trusting a man, believing I was serving my God. This world is not basically good and safe like I once believed. The path through life is not one we should walk without glancing to both sides. It is filled with con artists, hucksters, frauds, deceitful workers of iniquity, evil men who care not for our souls.
I listened to a man and I was caught in his net.
Can any know the wretchedness, the gut-wrenching pain, the emptiness–the absolute nakedness–when your trust is finally smashed to bits and the truth has slapped you so hard in the face you can barely think? Nobody can know unless they have been in that kind of darkness.
I went in by degrees, I came out by degrees. I even contemplated giving up my faith. In other words, just trash the whole package because if what the huckster said wasn’t true, then it couldn’t be true anywhere else. Or could it? I went down the road of give-it-all-up for awhile, but I found out it is just another lie–listening to not one man this time, but many, all wanting to turn me into another path of darkness, while they promise me “liberty.” It gave no satisfaction and led to emptiness and senselessness. Building on a foundation of sand.
I’ve wondered how many in Bible-based cults are even converted to begin with? Still, it’s agonizing for anyone to be treated the way we were. Prior to my getting hooked, I’ll be honest. I wasn’t close to the real, genuine God. It wasn’t that I was against churches, like some were. I just took church and God for granted. “They’ll always be here” kind of thing. I neglected to read my Bible regularly. Where is that verse that says seek Him early?2 I didn’t treasure that small faith I started out with as a young lad. God’s words didn’t continue to have an influence in my life. The spiritual lack inside of me left me wide open to listening to a man. I remember coveting his literature and words more than just the words of the Bible. I stacked up his booklets and magazines like they were gold.
How was I to know that liars use opposites? “Everyone else is on the wide path, but I have the narrow path; follow what I say.” The message looked and sounded so true. Seduced into believing a lie–and dearly paying for it.
Only a lying prophet would tell me he has the truth that no one else does! Especially that it’s contained in booklets diametrically opposed to what God had already revealed through His church for centuries. How mixed up the mind can get when we get tangled in a web of lies. I failed to treasure the faith I had known when young. How easy it is to desire something more than what you have. But lies are hard to live with. Their chains are cruel and thick, packed with guilt and fear, and they give us no rest.
Why do others seem to go on believing after such treachery? Maybe they still love God, and they know He (the true One) loves them, in spite of it all.
If there is darkness, there has to be light. If there is evil, there has to be good. If there is hate, there has to be love. So why would I think that I would escape all pain in life? Maybe it’s because to be lied to in the name of God is the worst.
Things haven’t been easy for me, but they have gotten better with the passing of time. I know I am going to survive. I’m smarter now. And I’m not alone.
I was His lost sheep, caught in the dark web of lies. I know now He allowed it, for what purpose I don’t know, but He took no delight in the torture it took to break free, and He has comforted me. I know He is greater than it all and nothing can separate me from His love. We have to beware of men who would deceive us. The religious hucksters are continuing to hide in beautiful Trojan horses. The pipers of atheism call. More listen to them with every passing day.
Today I know that life–real life–is about Jesus and His love. Not listening to a man. Not following the rules in his booklets. Not thinking he has all the answers. It’s Jesus that changes lives. That is the proof He’s real. Otherwise, the person who names His name is a liar. I know for a fact He changed me. The Bible is TRUE. Jesus is REAL. Don’t ever let anyone convince you to the contrary.
By H. C.
Exit & Support Network™
Herbert W. Armstrong (many articles)