Feb 28, 2019

The Plausible Deniability Clause

I am always amazed at how much the mind can retain and recall with only a hint to remind of us of an event from long ago. I say amazed because some days I can't remember why I came into the kitchen...one of the many joys of sustaining head injuries.

As I sit in a local coffee shop writing this blog, I thought of one such event that took place in this very building about fifty three years ago when I was eight years old. 

The coffee shop has had three different owners over the past twenty three years. Prior to that, the building had been a pharmacy that I would frequent when I was a young lad.

Periodically, my dad would let one or several of us siblings accompany him as he took a walk from our house to the pharmacy to make a purchase. This trip I was the one who went with him.

When we got to the store, my dad gave me some money so that I could pick out something from the candy aisle. I took the money from him and started the process of choosing an item that would meet the allowance given to me.

In short time, I was able to narrow down the wish list to two items; both which cost the same amount of money. I stood in the aisle pondering my decision. In one hand was a piece of candy; the other hand held a toy.

Both of the items together were twice the amount of money that I was given. So in other words, in order to make budget, I would need to choose ONE because that is all of the money that I had available. 

I'm not really sure what was going on in my young mind as I plotted how I could acquire BOTH items for the price of one.

I suppose I could attribute it to the damage that I had sustained when a few years earlier. I was horsing around and fell backwards off a chair and split the back of my head open on a cast iron radiator; requiring many stitches to close up and I had knocked myself out starting my long history of knock-out concussions.

Standing in the pharmacy, I rationalized that if I ate the candy item, then I would still be able to get the toy; thus paying for one but getting two. So, I proceeded with my plan to take the toy up to the counter after secretly eating the candy outside of the view of my dad or the pharmacist. 

I made my way to the counter to purchase the toy. The druggist asked me if it was just the toy or was it also the candy and made some veiled reference to the candy he had seen me holding. 

I told him that I had decided to just purchase the toy, not the candy; and did my best to look confused towards my dad as though to say; "Do you know what he is talking about? All I have is a toy..."

I had used the "plausible deniability clause". I had told the truth that I WAS only purchasing the toy; but not being honest that I had already consumed some candy without paying for it.

"Plausible Deniability" is being honest that I was only paying for the toy, all the while pretending that because the candy was consumed, therefore, I didn't need to pay for it. After all, how can you charge me for candy that I don't have? Did you actually see me eat the candy? 

‘Plausible’ simply means to have an appearance of truth or reason that seems to be believable, but often times is really deceptive.

‘Deniability’ is the ability to deny something, as knowledge of or connection with an illegal activity.

To this day I am somehow convinced that in spite of by best effort, the pharmacist knew what I had done and yet chose to not accuse me of theft.

And, for those of you who have taken the bunny trail and are now thinking; "Hey, Pastor Tommy, you shop lifted!" I interject that I DID confess my sin to a priest shortly after this experience to make amends with God.

So, as I sit here today writing this blog, I realize that there have been many times in the past when I have also used the "plausible deniability clause" in other areas of my life. 

For example, I have done it when I have changed the conversation as the person I had been talking about (like my boss or parents) came into the room.

Instead of continuing my comments or criticism, I gave the appearance that I had been talking (the whole time) about something else; something edifying and not at all slanderous towards him or her in any way.

Another example would be sneaking looks at someone other than my wife. After all, I only took the first look (albeit it was a LONG look) while I was giving the appearance that I was looking at something else as I made conversation about something in the background such as the sunset or a tree.

Another example would be when I had used a search engine on my computer to look up something that looked to the untrained eye like it was lovely, pure, and wholesome, so that if someone saw my screen, they would think that I was searching something that was OK.

But, inwardly, I was actually so close to the line hoping that something that I shouldn’t see might show up on my screen that was wrong or explicit or naughty. 

I could use the plausible deniability clause by stating that I’m not “technically” looking at pornography; after all it is only Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Amazon, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

Then, I could be shocked at what popped up on my screen…After all, I was just doing research…

But, the truth is that it still opens a door for lust, fantasy, or wasting time online, making it easy to tolerate these “harmless” activities.

Hidden behind the lies that we tell and the things that we do are evidences that our heart is wicked and deceptive and wants to be close to sinning, all the while giving the appearance as though it isn’t doing anything wrong. And, it shows how clouded our discernment can be.

It is no different than what Aaron told Moses that he cast the gold into the fire, and this calf came out. (Exodus 32:24).

Aaron had told the truth that he threw the gold into the fire. He omitted the fact that they had made themselves a molded calf out of the gold to make a ‘god’ for the people who had been grumbling in Moses’ absence.

The Bible says that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

The Bible warns us; evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13)

And finally, Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)

Those verses communicate to me that using the plausibility deniability clause I can not only deceive others, but I can be deceiving myself.

They tell me that I may thinking that I am getting away with something ‘now’, but it will affect the future and how honest I will be.

Now is the time to change the path we are on if we want to break free from this lifestyle of deception and live honest and transparent lives.

Today is the day to look outside of ourselves to the only One who can truly set us free; His Name is Jesus.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1) 

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)

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…Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:31 & 36)

Have you had enough of how you have been using the plausibility deniability clause and want true freedom?

Call 1-888-NEED HIM. Someone is waiting to talk with you

All Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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