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The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17.9

It would appear that the clumsy application of this verse and others like, taken out of context, is responsible for much psychological harm in the Church today. A generation has been schooled in self-doubt and then left to cope in a permissive society which is obsessed with individual rights. No wonder they flounder!

Knowing yourself - the good, the bad, the ugly - is the flip side of healthy self-awareness. The other side of the coin is knowing God. That "double-knowing" keeps us grounded and should be empowering: God is merciful and knows my weaknesses better than I do and wants to build me up...

But when those in authority step in and try to "play God" the trouble starts. No one has the right to do that. Leadership is about service not control. Waking up to the fickleness of human nature (deceitfulness of heart) should turn us to God who will give us what we need to grow up in wisdom, maturity and grace.

Anything that undermines us and turns us away from God amounts to working for the enemy. And if we have colluded through the inappropriate wielding of authority then we need to repent, for Jesus had harsh words for those who turn his precious children off the path that leads to righteousness (Matthew 18.6).



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