Purity Culture (Part 1): Whose Voice?

I haven’t posted anything for a few days because I’ve been having trouble tackling this next topic. I wanted to write this blog series in real time because I’m answering questions for myself as I write. This is as much of an exploration for me as it is for those of you reading it. Thanks to those of you who asked why I hadn’t posted anything. It’s nice to know I was missed. 🙂

Did you know that the word commonly used in the New Testament for obedience or submission is “hupakoe” which literally means “under the voice”? (Strongs 5218 if you feel like looking it up). Parakoe (Strongs 3876), “disobedience”, is “hearing amiss”. Voice and words are critically important in the Bible. They are the vehicle for the power that God used to create the universe. The voice of God created life in the beginning (Genesis 1:3, John 1:1), and I believe creates life every time He speaks. I’ve heard a theory that the creative power of God’s voice is so powerful, creation just keeps expanding into eternity from the moment he speaks it. That’s why the universe is continuing to expand now. Stars are still being formed because of the words he spoke at the beginning of time. It’s a powerful voice, a creative voice. It’s also an intimate voice. It’s the still small voice (I Kings 19:12), the tender voice of the Good Shepherd that we know because of our intimacy with him (John 10:14 and 27), it’s the voice he sings over us with (Zepheniah 3:17).

Satan also has a voice, but his use of it is completely different. His language is lies, he’s the father of lies. (John 8:44) When there is a lie, it originates from him. His lies are divisive, not intimate. He accuses and slanders. (Revelation 12:9-10)

One voice has truth and life, the other lies and destruction. Whose voice are you under? Whose voice do you echo?

I’ve learned a few things about detecting lies from my life experiences. We tend to think of facts as the things that combat lies, but it is pretty rare that you get an opportunity to counteract lies with actual proven facts, particularly in the day-to-day. It’s hard enough for our entire country to figure out which news outlet is telling the truth (if any of them are)—figuring out on your own whether the person you’re talking to is being truthful based on evidence is a pretty daunting task. Even when life blows up, few of us have the extra cash to hire a private investigator. And PIs will tell you that it’s pretty rare they uncover something that the person who hired them didn’t already suspect—there’s something in us that has the ability to detect a lie without a fact-finding mission.

So how do you tell when you’re hearing a lie? I’m still thinking this through, but these are a few of the ways I have learned to detect lies:

1. Does it cause or encourage fear? (“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” I John 1:18. Plus the countless verses where God tells people “do not be afraid.”)

2. Does it cause or encourage guilt or shame? (A corollary: does it make the hearer feel like his value as a person depends on his behavior?) (“There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1. “Those who look to him are radiant, their faces shall never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:5)

3. Does it isolate? (“It is not good that the man should be alone.” Genesis 2:18  “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9)

4. Does it make the hearer question her sanity?  I’ve heard from so many people in clearly abusive situations, “Well, I don’t KNOW that X is going on. I can’t prove it.” So they feel like they have to accept the person’s word for it. But more often than not, they have a hunch. And more often than not, the liar is actively working to dismantle that hunch. It’s called gaslighting and it supports lies. Satan gaslights us. He’s done it from the very beginning when he asked Eve, “Did God really say…?” (Genesis 3:1)

Stay tuned. Tomorrow I’m going to put the lie detector to work.

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