Hello! Hello there!
Today, I would like to explore this topic called exaggeration. Not just a topic, but a topic that can ensnare a believer while lacking the sense of urgency in dealing with it. What is exaggeration? The definition from Mirriam-Webster dictionary really does it for me. It says exaggeration is an overstatement of the truth. So there is truth, the thing is it is overstated. Which begs the question, is there really truth.
Saying this makes my mind recall what the serpent did in the Garden of Eden. For me, this creates the foundation or rather background of exaggeration.Genesis 3:1-6 says
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”. 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
When you look at the Scripture, there was truth in what the serpent said, the only thing is that the truth was overstated. What God said about the tree is recorded in Genesis 2:15-17…….
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
The truth is yes, when they decide to eat from that specific tree, they will gain knowledge and as a result, death will befall on all humankind. The serpent twisted this to exaggerate the benefits and demean the consequences.
When I thought of this topic, my thoughts were more on why people exaggerate. One of the reasons that motivated me was that people exaggerate the truth out of fear. Fear of of the future and fear of what people would think. But why would they care of what people thought? I am trying to dig deep into this. Perhaps, low self-esteem, self-pity, so exaggeration is a way of making things look better for themselves in-front of others.
You remember how Moses sent out the 12 to spies to explore Canaan and the report of the 10 was really out of fear that it would not be possible to gain possession of the land. Numbers 13:26-33 states:-
Report on the Exploration
26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”
30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.
Fear was speaking and they exaggerated to make the point they felt was what was to be accepted by all the Israelites including Moses.
Looking at the two stories, I see a similarity in the root of the exaggeration. Self. The view of what the self is and what the self could become was the deeper reason in trying to make a point to others in favour of themselves. Self also comes with envy and pride. Exaggeration in its truest form is really lying. It is no surprise then that the introduction of this form of lying is the devil, the father of lies. John 8:44 says..
44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Oh, Lord, may you help us to see exaggerations of the little discussions we have with each other as what they really are. Lies. When we exaggerate our emotions to gain sympathy or increase the magnitude of our circumstances to others to get empathy and the support we are in need of… May we watch our words not to magnify what we feel and see or even our perspective of our past. Forgive us Oh Lord, where we have fallen in this area and allowed our tongues to speak deceit which does not please you. May the blood of Jesus Christ wash us clean from all unrighteousness. Help, us Holy Spirit not to be children of the father of lies by believing him when he tells us that we cannot get the help we need from our Father in Heaven. We belong to Jesus, Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life!
I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will keep us firm to the end, so that we will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ!! Amen and Amen!! God bless you and see you next week!!