Gaslighting no match for truth

Published 5:22 am Saturday, January 14, 2023

For some, the term “gaslight” conjures up memories of the 1944 Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer thriller.
In the movie “Gaslight,” after the death of her famous opera-singing aunt, Paula (Bergman) is sent to study in Italy to become a great opera singer as well.
While there, she falls in love with the charming Gregory Anton (Boyer).
The two return to London, and Paula begins to notice strange goings-on: missing pictures, strange footsteps in the night and gaslights that dim without being touched.
As she fights to retain her sanity, her new husband’s intentions come into question.
Bergman’s character was diabolically driven almost to the point of madness because of her husband’s hidden agenda.
According to the Newport Institute, gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which the abuser attempts to sow self-doubt and confusion in their victim’s mind.
Typically, gaslighters are seeking to gain power and control over the other person, by distorting reality and forcing them to question their own judgment and intuition.
Nationally syndicated talk show host and former U.S. Secret Service agent Dan Bongino defines gaslighting this way. “It is simply persuading people to believe an alternative reality, aided by the news media, liberal academics, cultural elitists and the Hollywood machine.”
He continues, “to do this you have to lie, lie often, lie confidently while isolating people from the truth!”
Conservative English cultural critic Theodore Dalrymple writes, “One of the ways in which neo Marxists social justice totalitarians exert control is by humiliating people into admitting or professing that something is true which they know is not true. Forcing them to say things they know to be false… that is the ultimate exertion of the power and control desired.”
All of this talk of gaslighting has reminded me of the context in which we are introduced to the first diabolical scheme introduced to mankind in the third chapter of Genesis.
It was a scam and the entire human race has paid the price since that day.
It is worth observing that an effective scam at first appears to be safe and innocent.
I read years ago in the magazine, Bits & Pieces, that when the federal income tax was signed into law in 1913, a senator speaking in opposition to the bill stated: “If we allow this one percent foot-in-the-door, at some future date it might rise to five percent!”
I don’t know about you but I’ll take five percent any day of the week! Many a scam, scheme, or flim-flam started out looking rather appealing.
Secondly, an effective scam can have devastating effects.
A financial catastrophe would be a terrible thing to experience; a spiritual and moral failure would be even worse.
The Apostle Paul writing about the tricks Satan uses to deceive a man’s heart writes, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
I love the words of James which remind us to “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Which brings me to my last observation.
An effective scam is no match for a heart that knows the truth!.
The incredible book of Psalms begins this way, “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
A school teacher lost her life savings in a business scheme that had been elaborately explained by a swindler.
When her investment disappeared and her dream was shattered, she went to the Better Business Bureau.
“Why on earth didn’t you come to us first?” the official asked. “Didn’t you know about the Better Business Bureau?”
“Oh, yes,” said the lady sadly. “I’ve always known about you. But I didn’t come because I was afraid you’d tell me not to do it.”
The folly of human nature is that even though we know where the answers lie, God’s Word, we don’t turn there for fear of what it will say.
What we see before us today in our beloved land is tragically reminiscent of Eden’s fall.
God had wonderfully blessed the first couple with everything they could have ever wanted or needed but the serpent enticed their hearts away from all the God had given them.
With all the evil intent hell could muster he guided their focus to something that they not only did not need, but to that which would bring separation from the God who created them.
We must today confront error with truth! To do that we must know the truth — his name is Jesus!

Tim Throckmorton is the national director of Family Resource Council’s Community Impact Teams.

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