On our journey through life, many people will cross our paths of whom we might ask the question, "Is this person's behavior and words real and true, or are they "painted on," or in other words -- not real and true. The opposite of real is delusive, fake, imitative, pseudo, untrue and so on.
The picture above is of real pink petunias spilling over the edge of a pot on my deck. The slight blur to the photo gives it an affect that resembles that of a painting, which I think is kind of cool. As far as painting a picture of something real -- sure, that is imitative, but everyone who sees it knows that's what it is and accepts it for a painting and enjoys its beauty. Truth is another story.
The message I find in the whole concept is that sometimes it's really hard to tell the difference between what is real and true, and what is fake and untrue. The lines are sometimes blurred, just as my picture, just enough to make you question what to believe. Sometimes, it might not matter so much -- as in this photo, but sometimes it can mean the difference between something good and something bad in your life, or even the difference between your eternal destination.
What happens when you can't tell the difference between true and untrue when it comes to investing your money with a friend and finding out too late he blurred the lines of truth? How about the car salesman who tells you that used car has been thoroughly checked out and nothing is wrong with it. You buy the car and it breaks down ten miles down the road. How about the boyfriend or husband who assures you he is sorry and will never hit you again. Knowing the truth can often be vital to your well-being. In John 8:31-32, Jesus said, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Would you agree that a wolf in sheep's clothing is a dangerous example of someone or something pretending to be good and true and safe when the exact opposite is the real truth. The worst of these offenders would have to be those who teach/preach a false, even slightly blurred, doctrine. Most of us can spot an entirely false message -- it's the blurred messages with bits of truth mixed with well-presented lies that are harder to spot. There are plenty of deceivers pretending to teach truth and many who believe their blurred theology. Jesus warned, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." But, how can we recognize them? He went on to say, "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?...A bad tree bears bad fruit."
How can people be so deceived? Jesus speaks of Satan, saying, "When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me." John 8:44-45. As Jesus pointed out, Satan is good at his job -- which consists of lying -- and he has fooled people every day since the day he lied to Eve and she bit into that piece of fruit. Yet, Jesus, who spoke only truth, was often mocked and disbelieved. It doesn't make sense, but it is true.
Nicole Nordeman sings a song that addresses the question of what is truth versus what is not truth when it comes to belief in Jesus Christ as Savior (that "eternal destination" situation). Her song speaks to a non-believer about Jesus, asking, "What if you're right? And he was just another nice guy? What if it's true? They say the cross will only make a fool of you." Then, she turns the argument around, saying, "But what if you're wrong? What if He's more than enough? What if it's love?" [from song "What if you're Wrong"].
Paul said it plainly in Colossians 3:9, "Do not lie to one another...." Proverbs 12:22 goes on to say, "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight." I like the last part that talks about people who are truthful delighting God. I want to delight God, don't you? My picture of pink petunias might be slightly blurred, but let's make sure all our dealings in life are in sharply focused truth. Then, we can be assured that we will have the joy of being a delight to our Father God.