Proverbs 26:24-26 ESV Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; (25) when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart; (26) though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
It is a very consistent evil. The wicked work to turn people against the righteous. This deceit can take many forms, but I will just give you one example in this post.
Years ago we had a man in our church who disguised himself as a most eminent, godly “saint.” A real servant of the church, you know. Always at every meeting. Always at every project day. Serving in this capacity and that. Always the one to greet newcomers. The fellow who had the “right” Bible answers in a class.
But as the years passed by, we woke up to his tactics. He was always at work gaining the trust and admiration of newcomers, of young people, and of adults who took him up on his offer to “disciple” them. It seemed he always had time to show up at any ministry we started – and he was always at work ingratiating himself to the people. And of course as it turned out, these evil efforts also tended to alienate those people from the rest of us.
This guy was energized by a lust to be worshipped. In spite of his cloak of fake humility, he was in reality the chief of self-glory seekers. And he was also motivated then by a craving to turn people against the Lord’s true people and ministry. He hated us, though he pretended to love us. His ability to keep up that disguise became more and more difficult for him over the years as the truth of Scripture being preached and taught increasingly exposed him.
This thing happens of course to domestic abuse victims. Their abuser always has his radar up for potential friends or allies of the victim. Sometimes he will just use more forceful tactics to run them off, but often he will approach them more subtlely, get their ear, and work to turn them against the victim. It might be her employer, a new friend, fellow church members – anyone who he perceives as a potential ally to her. And as we experienced in our church, he may do all these things while wearing his cloak of holiness – all of it done “in the name of the Lord,” of course.
Read the verses from Proverbs quoted above again. God’s Word exposes it all.