There is a different kind of deception, however, that is more insidious than being misled by an external enemy. This deception comes from within the heart and involves choosing to believe a lie, often for self-serving or self-flattering reasons. "Anyone who thinks he is something when he is nothing," said the Apostle Paul, "deceives himself" (Gal. 6:3).
Self-deception is a universal condition of mankind. The Scripture declares: kol derekh ish yashar be'einav – "every man's way is right in his eyes" – indicating that by nature we are self-justifying creatures, prone to believe our own "propaganda" and wishful thinking.
We are apt to be biased in our self-examination and ready to excuse ourselves at every turn, rationalizing our behavior and suppressing the truth about ourselves in order to quell the voice of conscience within our hearts. When faced with an inconsistency between our behavior and our romanticized self-image, we often regard ourselves as something other than what we really are. In short, we deceive ourselves.
The remedy for self-deception is honest acceptance of ourselves as God sees us, since vetokhein libbot Adonai – "the Lord weighs the heart." The Hebrew word for "weighs" is takhan, meaning to measure, balance, make even, or adjust to a standard.