Let’s talk about deception.

Sometimes “good” is not so good.

I know this because I’ve lived this.

And when I was reading Holy Ghost Girl by Donna M. Johnson, this concept played hard and heavy in my mind.

How could all those people be deceived by a man like David Terrell?

David Terrell is a self-proclaimed “man of God,” and here’s the thing, I don’t think he’s wrong in his own mind. I think his heart believes it. But his actions and disobedience to the Lord (as outlined in this memoir) seem to say otherwise.

The hurt that has spread malignant through those who’ve worshiped him through the years says otherwise too. And maybe this is really what I want to talk about: how we can look to others, look to their special gifts and winning personalities to “save” us from ourselves.

When in reality, only Jesus can do that.

When reading this book, I thought of Scripture:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Matthew 7:21-23

David Terrell has performed so many miracles. So many people have been physically healed by him, so I can understand misinterpreting this ability with the utter clarity that God has ordained his ministry.

But Jesus points out the deception of some miracles ultimately has nothing to do with the Savior and everything to do with the man performing them.

My heart does break for David Terrell. How easy to take a side road off the chosen path into the desires of our own hearts.

And how easy to justify them with Scripture itself.

Jesus physically healed countless people, but His healing always pointed to the fact that He was God (Mark 2:1-12).

Which makes me ask, what is David Terrell (and many others like him) pointing to?

I believe in miracles. I believe in the saving power of the Holy Spirit. I believe God still physically heals people.

But I also believe in being sober-minded and that Satan prowls around like a lion just waiting to devour someone (1 Peter 5:8).

So what is the cure for deception? What is its counterpart?

Discernment, the very gift of sifting and sorting and knowing what is from God and what isn’t. Anyone can pray and receive discernment, and I ask that you do too if you haven’t already.

Discernment can keep us from those who seek to harm us or even those who believe their own intentions are good. And ultimately, it can protect us from the evil desires of our own hearts.

That being said, let us remember that David Terrell has been created in the image of God. He is a human being who needs love and forgiveness. May we seek to understand and love those who we might not always agree with.

Because we also know how love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

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