My friend – I’ll call him “Bob” – had been a staunch member of the communist party. However, he is no longer a communist. I asked him, “Why not?” Bob answered that,
- I no longer believe in humanity. I know only too well what they are like. The communist ideal cannot be realized as long as people are selfish liars. For people to live communally as equals, they have to be committed to the communist ideal, but this ideal is unreachable.
After suffering this disappointment, I wondered from where he derived his hope. After all, without hope, you can’t get yourself out of bed in the morning. I was shocked but pleased by his transparency:
- Well, you just have to believe in hope – that things can get better. Perhaps we need to delude ourselves into believing that we can make a difference. That’s what people have to do. What else is there!
How sad! I wanted to ask him if I should regard everything that he was now saying as a product of his hopeful self-delusion, but I decided against it. Instead, I wondered how he was able to live with himself. If all human beings are selfish liars and self-deceived, it would seem that Bob could only have two choices:
- To regard himself as a member of the human race – a selfish liar and self-deceived! In this case, it would seem that depression and despair would be inevitable.
- To regard himself as a lucky exception to the human masses, but this too is self-deception! This might allow Bob to temporarily feel better about himself, but he would have to pay a great price for this “luxury.” He would have to deceive himself further and then incessantly battle against his conscience, telling him that he is no better than others.
I am looking forward to seeing Bob again in a couple of weeks. I want to ask him:
- If you are willing to delude yourself into believing that there is a hope, and you know there isn’t one, why not then believe in a God who loves you and has laid His life down for you? Now that’s a real hope!
Logical, yes? Sadly, logic doesn’t, by itself, change hearts. The natural, sin-infested self is at enmity with God (Romans 8:5-8; 1 Cor. 2:14) and will do anything to oppose Him (2 Cor. 2:14-18). Please pray for him.