“Of all forms of deception self-deception is the most deadly, and of all deceived persons the self-deceived are the least likely to discover the fraud.”

A. W. Tozer

Tozer was right. We humans have a knack for lying to ourselves.

Proverbs 16.25 says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Like Tozer, Solomon was warning against self-deception. This well-known proverb warns against the difference between perception and reality and encourages us to think beforehand about choices and consequences.

The proverb works in two ways. First, it encourages the reader to challenge his or her own assumptions about the choices we make in life. How many of us assume we’re right about the important things in life, but never question our premises? Has it ever occurred to us we could be wrong?

Second, it reminds us of the serious consequences when we’re self-deluded. Solomon challenges us to think ahead about the outcome of our assumptions and choices when we choose the wrong path. His point is simple: why die if you don’t have to?

This proverb reminds us to check our spiritual road map and see where it leads. People today frequently travel down the road of self-delusion and the road of no-consequence living. Parents constantly cover for or defend their children’s misbehavior. Our relationships are as disposable as K-cups. We waste time, money, natural resources, friends, and possessions, and simply assume that we can always find a replacement. Our nation is crippled by debt, entitlement, and extravagance, and we largely don’t care. This proverb suggests that we should rethink a few things, or we’ll pay a high price.

How can you avoid this kind of self-deception? The cure for self-deception is self-examination. First, always examine yourself. Before you make any decision, check your assumptions, and weigh the alternatives. Second, pray about your thought process and choices. Ask for God’s help and guidance. Third, consult others with more experience, maturity, and wisdom. Fourth, learn to accept criticism graciously, humbly, and honestly. Finally, learn from your mistakes. 

As Solomon says, if something seems right, proceed with caution.