The Loophole of Denial

Fred Feliciano

I love a good story. Good stories catch us off guard. A good story has the power to show us what we believe about the world and how we think things ought to be. They stretch our minds, challenge our beliefs, and move us towards change. That is why I love Jesus’ stories. His stories move me, jolt me and propel me towards facing and embracing the reality of who he is and who I am. In short, his stories catch me by exposing me. That is why I also struggle with his stories. They expose me and my thoughts. His stories bring me back to facing my self whether I want to or not. So, I find ways around his stories in order to avoid stepping into his light. I just focus my attention on something else, anything. I use denial as a loophole. A loophole is a term used to describe a way around a particular obstacle with little to no negative effect to oneself. We find ways out of situations where we anticipate feeling shame.

The loophole of denial assists us in avoiding the light of God in two ways. First, denial provides us a way of alleviating the stress of our shame by refusing to face it. Shame can be defined as an intense fear of being exposed based on a corrosive belief that one is fatally flawed, unlovable and deserving of rejection from others who are deemed worthy and perceived as merciless all at once. As long as we do not have to face what we do that’s wrong, we don’t have to confess or own up to others in honesty and we find relief from the burden of our shame momentarily. Good shame allows us to focus attention on the welfare of God and others above our own.

Confessions made in the light of good shame lead us to restore relationships with loving dignity and help to develop true self perceptions in light of God’s true view of us which does something better than provide relief from the shame we feel. It provides us a deep sense of rest in our minds and hearts. The cost of not facing our shame is too high a price to pay.

Secondly, the loophole of denial provides us a way of avoiding painful truth by creating an alternative to the truth. Alternatives to the truth are simply lies. Lies help us to maintain the illusion that we can avoid rejection and increase the chances of acceptance by presenting ourselves as someone we are not. The problem with creating alternatives is that acceptance is never fully experienced and we are never fully known because the truth of who we really are remains hidden underneath the lies;  we remain distanced from others. Those who are closest to us never experience us as we are. They experience a false self. The alternative at first seems like it will increase acceptance and decrease rejection but in the end it isolates us further by taking us farther away from the truth of who we are, others are, and who God is. We wind up never trusting or being intimate with anyone.

Christ provides us a way out of our shame-based loopholes of denial by reversing the path our loopholes have taken us. Traveling in reverse back into the loophole of denial transforms it into a doorway. A doorway that leads to a redemptive path of trust for prodigal sons. Prodigals who, in repentance, come home, face the truth of their guilt in relation to their legitimate failures and face their longings for acceptance never received. But most of all are able to trust, face, and receive the Father’s healing embrace. His embrace declaring to us, ‘Not only are you forgiven but you are my son. You were dead but are now alive!’

I want to encourage you to read in Luke 15 about the transforming power of the Father’s deep love for his ragamuffin sons. Let that story catch you, expose you and shake you loose from your denial and fear.

For help facing your denial and experiencing God’s transforming power, see Every Man’s Battle.

Getting to the Other Side

New Life Ministries

While there may not be spiritual oppression involved in your battle, there’ll always be spiritual opposition. The enemy is constantly near your ear. He doesn’t want you to win this fight, and he knows the lies that so often break men’s confidence and their will to win. Expect to hear lies and plenty of them.
What we’ve told you is the truth There is peace and tranquility for you on the other side of this war. There is immeasurable spiritual gain. The deceiver will tell you that we are crazy and that you’ll soon be as crazy as we are if you follow our ideas.

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The challenge every man faces’
The fight every man can win!

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To help you recognize Satan’s lies when you hear them, here’s a list of some of them. (After each lie, we’ll state the actual truth.)

Satan: ‘You’re the only one dealing with this problem. If anyone never finds out, you’ll be the laughingstock of the church!


The truth:
Most men deal with this problem, so no one will laugh.

Satan: ‘You failed again. You’ll never be able to train your eyes. It’s impossible.’


The truth:
It isn’t impossible. Job trained his eyes, didn’t he? He was a man just like you.

Satan: ‘You’re being so legalistic! The law is dead and only brings death.’


The truth:
God still has standards of behavior for us, and you’re responsible to live purely by His standards.

Satan: ‘Oh, c’mon! Don’t be such a moron. This ‘habit-changing’ plan will never work.’


The truth:
The plan will work, because for most men the problem of sexual impurity is nothing more than bad choices evolving into bad habits.

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You can’t always see them,
but the costs of your sin
are greater than you think!

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Satan:
‘Why fight this costly battle when the costs of your impurity are so minimal?’


The truth:
You can’t always see them, but the costs of your sin are greater than you think.

Satan: ‘Why live in this high state of alert for the rest of your life? Give up now, and I’ll leave you alone.’
The truth: Satan just might keep his word and leave you alone, but even if he did, the laws of reaping and sowing would still exact their payment from you. You cannot avoid the costs of sexual impurity. You need to fight.

Satan: ‘You’ll be awkward in business situations now, especially with women. You won’t fit in, and you’ll lose business.’


The truth:
No, you won’t be awkward in business situations. You’ll be more at ease than ever.