24 People may cover their hatred with pleasant words, but they’re deceiving you.
25 They pretend to be kind, but don’t believe them. Their hearts are full of many evils.
26 While their hatred may be concealed by trickery, their wrongdoing will be exposed in public.
On a recent trip to NYC I almost became a victim of tourism trickery- again. While standing in the middle of Times Square, snapping a picture of our eldest daughter, several bo-bo (my word for fake) cartoon characters swooped in beside her and began posing for a group shot. A moment later, ‘The Incredible Hulk’ grabbed my cell phone, while using pleasant words to coerce me to join the photo shoot. As I stood there, with my plastered-on-smile, I experienced an immediate gut check. I’ve come to recognize this particular physical indicator as the prompting of the Holy Spirit. So when I heard Him say “…they aren’t being kind” I responded at once by retrieving my phone, saying “thank you,” and turning to leave the area. But we couldn’t.
We were surrounded.
As the masks came off and the hands full of cash came out, the people began their plea:
“Please, ma’am…anything you can give.”
“Please…its for our college fund.”
“Please…any amount is good.”
I locked arms with our daughter and we made a beeline down 7th Street. As we turned the corner onto 44th she protested: “I thought ‘Elmo’ was being nice!” “No- honey, I’m sorry, he wasn’t. Unfortunately, it’s the oldest trick in the book; hit up the naïve, gullible tourists for cash.”
Sadly, I’ve also encountered some non-costume wearing people that covered their motivation with pleasant words. In fact, during my family’s last visit to Manhattan, I was guilted into giving several greenbacks to a group of street performers. I walked away as I usually do, feeling used….and angry. Angry that they tricked me. Angry that their hearts were full of many evils. Angry that I didn’t tell them off! But not this time. This time I was grateful that I heard Gods warning, obeyed Him by saying “no” and that we were able to walk away without any retaliation verbally or physically.
This morning, as I sat talking with the Lord, He reminded me of the prayer I whispered on the train ride into the city with our daughter that day, “Father, protect us as we travel….”
Not only that, He exposed a few peoples wrongdoing in one of the most public places in America! Even though their trickery was concealed, the Holy Spirit was faithful to warn me not to believe them…and I didn’t.
Once again, my Father proved that He is sovereign. Once again He proved to be in control of every detail of my life. Once again, He proved that He can always be trusted….even when others can’t.
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people.