Beware of False Hope

Regarding hope, I must warn you there is such a thing as false hope. A counterfeit. It looks real and sometimes feels real, but it’s an illusion. Just as with money, you have to study the genuine to identify the false. The enemy is sneaky like that. Making promises he cannot keep. Making something look like the way to freedom, only to manipulate the hope of it until the opposite is true. Bondage. The world usually agrees with his promises, and you can fall prey to them too, if you don’t know what real hope looks like.

Addiction doesn’t start off as addiction. It starts as fun. Then moves to a relief of pain. Sweet numbness. Just for a bit. Then, before long, you are in bondage to a substance, which promised something it cannot deliver, but it doesn’t just have to drugs or alcohol. Those are the most obvious, but there are addictions to food, social media, pornography, TV, shopping…the list goes on and on. Something to take you out of your current circumstance, even if it’s just temporary. Once you are trapped, longed for hope vanishes like a wisp of smoke.  

Real hope doesn’t promise you freedom that it cannot deliver. Real hope heals your pain, it does not mask it. Real hope doesn’t make demands from you. It is not a slave master. Real hope is not temporary. It doesn’t wear off.

Putting hope in politicians is foolish. Governments made up of humans will never be the answer. Again, promises are made and broken. Much more obviously these days, right in front of our eyes. Blue or red. No matter. There is enough false hope to go around to everyone. Hope that if the laws just change things will be different. Hope that our president will save the day. We will be free. But the election cycle never ends. The striving to make corruption disappear only makes it worse. As with addiction, you are promised freedom only to find promises broken as the pendulum swings back and forth. An ax that cuts anyone in its path.

Real hope doesn’t pick sides. Real hope is for everyone, it does not divide. Real hope gives freedom, not just to the body but to the soul. It is not proud or loud, it is gentle and humble. Real hope doesn’t look like what the world thinks it should.

Relationships of all kinds offer false hope. Looking for a man/woman to complete you is false hope. No one can complete you. Having a friend who is your support gives a sense of security, until that friend walks away. Thinking your children will fulfill your needs as a mom, offers hope and purpose, until you have a wayward child. Relationships are not bad, in fact they are designed to be a way to connect and share. A community of interdependence. That is the design. But to put all your hope into them is to set yourself up for heartache.

Real hope accepts you as you are, it doesn’t require “completion”.  Real hope is a shared gift, not something you have to chase. Real hope is in your own worthiness as stated by God himself, not by some outside source verifying who you are. Real hope gives you value that you don’t have to go seeking. Real hope is simple, not complicated. It finds you. HE finds you.

Do not be tricked by false hope. Do not look for hope outside of me. You will find all kinds of things that LOOK like hope, but ultimately, they will fail you. Or worse yet, bind you. I do not want that for you, Beloved. I want true freedom. True hope. Looking elsewhere will cost you years of your life. Spinning your wheels trying to find hope will wear you out. You will look in one place, only to be disappointed. Then you will try another, with the same result. All the time, I am sitting right here, beside you. Waiting for you to seek my hope. The whole reason for advent is that hope was born. My hope. The only hope for mankind. It couldn’t be simpler in this muddled world. I am right here.

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