Imprisoned by lies: The lies we believe
At the weekend I spent some time reading a variety of articles online. One, in particular, made a big impact on me as I reflected on the lies we believe. The piece was about a man called Ricky Jackson, who had been released from prison late 2014, after spending almost 40 years behind bars. He was originally sentenced to death, but then later appealed this successfully to be life imprisonment instead. I expect my American friends will be familiar with his story.
Ricky had been charged with a crime of murder that he did not commit. The whole case against him was based on a lie that his apparently coerced accuser admitted later in a retrial that everything he said was a lie.
For over 39 years, day after day he probably had to face the fact that through no fault of his own, a lie was used to stop him living the life he wanted, hoped for and planned to. A lie, that not only made a life altering impact on him, but also on his family and friends.
As the judge read out that the case was dismissed, Ricky’s first reaction was to look upwards in relief, as you could visibly see in the video footage that a huge, unjustified weight of guilt was lifted from his shoulders.
Later, as he was interviewed about how he felt, it was noticeable that there was not an ounce of anger towards the person whose false testimony put him there. He was just grateful to be a free man.
He could have allowed his thoughts be consumed by hatred, destroyed by bitterness, focused on the regret of lost years unfairly taken from him, and spend time plotting how he could retaliate… But no. He made a choice to not live that way, just as each of us has a choice too.
His eyes were focused on what was ahead of him, not on the shadows of his past. He may have been physically restrained behind 4 walls for years, but clearly he lived a free life within himself.
In the end, thankfully, justice prevailed for Ricky, and truth set the record straight, but it was a long, long wait for him to hear the words he longed for – not guilty.
As I read Ricky’s story and listened to his interview, I felt there was much for us to learn from this.
Are you ‘doing time’ in your thoughts about yourself, because you believe a lie?
How often do we place ourselves in a prison cell built with walls of lies, due to the lies we believe about ourselves? Our enemy loves nothing more than to point out all that is wrong about us, and remind us of the hurtful words spoken to us and actions towards us. The Message paraphrase of John 8:44 says that “…At the core of his character, he is a liar; everything he speaks originates in these lies because he is the father of lies.”
Ricky said, “Just because you are in prison, you don’t have to be a prisoner.”
If we apply this truth to our lives we could say –
Just because the father of lies tries to imprison us with his lies doesn’t mean we need to be a prisoner of his lies.
So what lies have tried to imprison you?
Just like a single lie tried to imprison Ricky for life, a single lie can do a lot of long term damage to us too, but, only if we allow it to.
Lies seek to blind us and make us doubt the truth. We need to learn to challenge the lies and press forward, casting them aside as the rubbish they are.
“A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies.” Proverbs 14:5 ESV
When it’s time for us to go Home, I sure don’t want to look back with regret at how much of my life I gave away to lies and fear.
Challenging the lies we believe
‘Jesus said, “I am here to bring light in this world, freeing everyone who believes in Me from the darkness that blinds him.” ‘ John 12:46 TLB
‘Jesus said…”I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” ‘ John 14:6 AMP
We must remember and apply the truth that Jesus is the real Truth. It’s His truth that sets us free from the bondage of this world (Jn 8:32). By having faith in Jesus, we must also challenge the lies we hear, as we obey, love and place our trust in Him.
I think we often have trouble throwing off the lies and walk boldly in truth, because the truth often feels too good to be true. Shocking isn’t it. Our enemy places the suggestion in our thoughts that the truth doesn’t apply to us – “How can you be free?” he whispers. “How can the price be paid for all the things you have done wrong? he accuses.”What do you mean you are valuable when you don’t do anything of worth?” he laughs… And all of this is emphasised when so and so says we are worthless…
We too readily believe the worst about ourselves when someone takes great pride in belittling us and underlining what we secretly fear about ourselves, rather than dismiss it as of no importance and choose to accept the Grace we have been given from the One who is Love.
The truth is, we have been released from our sins by Jesus’ blood (Rev 1:5), we are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), our response to this gift should be to accept it gracefully, live like a prisoner who has had their sentence quashed and walks through the heavily bolted door as a free person for the first time, and give thanks for it every day of our lives.
Just because we find it hard to believe someOne loves us that much, doesn’t make it any less true.
Jesus warns us that children of God will face persecution, but reminds us that as He has made a home in us, we have nothing to fear (John 15:4, 18-26, 16:1-4)
Jesus who was the only one without sin (2 Cor 5:21), was sentenced to death by His enemy, but He was not a prisoner of his lies. He knew exactly who He was, which meant He ultimately defeated the very things that tried to end His life and stop the truth He came to share.
Facing our fears and dealing with the lies we believe
Isn’t it time to face our fears head on like David did when he fought Goliath? And take back our identity from the clutches of our adversary and sower of weeds?
The lies and fears may appear too big to bring crashing down, but all it takes is one crack in the foundation to begin to crumble to nothing. David fought his enemy by declaring “…”You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty…” 1 Sam 17:45 NIV.
God gives us the armour and weapons we need to confront the very things that seek to imprison us and harm us, we just need to use them. (Eph 6:10-18, 2 Cor 10:4-6,)
Hope helps us find the strength we need to persevere through our trials. Truth helps us challenge the lies that try to capture us and stop us discovering our full potential and purpose. Love has the final say about who we are. And God sent us a Helper to do the things we can’t.
We have a choice
- Listen to the lies, or pay attention to God’s truth?
- Live in fear, or live in confidence as a child of light?
- Be owned by sin or belong to Grace?
- Be a prisoner of the enemy of our souls, or be free in Jesus who defeated the power of sin and death?
Jesus has given us the key to the door of our freedom that frees us from power of condemnation when we accept Him as Lord and Saviour of our life. So let’s stop giving our enemy the power to speak into our lives.
With God’s power we need to tear down the strongholds that the enemy seeks to build against God’s truth (2 Cor 10:4) and subdue every negative thought and lie that calls into question who we are. Thankfully, we don’t need to deal with this alone, as our Helper promises us to never leave us.
“Thank God for his Son—his Gift too wonderful for words.” 2 Cor 9:15 TLB
We don’t need to be a prisoner to lies that seek to try and undermine God’s Word and authority. Let’s start living the free lives we have been given through the beauty of Grace.
God calls us to share the Good News, to liberate the oppressed, and tell those who are captive that they are free in Christ. What better way is there to share this by living a life that testifies to this truth? We say we no longer live in chains, so may our actions follow our words.
As a part of our journey of transformation, will you stand with me today as we take the first steps together for real and lasting change, as we say no to the lies we believe about ourselves, and work at challenging them with God’s truth?
P.s throughout July we are praying for the UK. If you would value daily prayer prompts, please see – 31 days of prayer: pray for the UK
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