*Asterisks and Whitewash


SOMETIME UP AHEAD, I’LL BE in the market for a new computer. So when Dell and HP and others put their big ads in USA Today or on the Net, I keep an eye on specs and pricing.

Often as not, you see a photo of a computer with keyboard, mouse, and a widescreen monitor. Price, let’s say, is $699. Takes a bit of looking, but sure enough, there it is.

The asterisk.

Down below in the small print, you find that the monitor is “not included.” There it is in the photo—with the price right beside it. But sorry, you can’t have what’s shown in the photo! For that, you have to fork over extra. What the headline promiseth, the asterisk taketh away—or sometimes, addeth on to the price.

*“Not included (whether monitors, batteries, or you name it).

*License, transfer, and documentation fees additional.

*Add state, federal, global, and galactic taxes.

That’s the way it goes here in our world. What you see is NOT what you get. There’s always the asterisk. The hidden hook. The catch. The fine print. The strings attached.

Pharmaceutical commercials tout the wondrous, transformational miracles the latest drug will work for you. Then they run by you about fifteen seconds of mumbled, low-volume, hyperspeed side effects that typically need yet another drug to offset them.

Gas pump says $2.99.9 a gallon. Why not just $3.00? Because, hey—if we keep it under three bucks, maybe people will think “Not so bad…just somewhere over $2.00.

We for sure live in a “What you see is not what you get” world. We’re surrounded by lies and half-truths—some devious, some just little “white” ones. We operate far too often on the “whited sepulcher” principle Jesus opposed while here: whitewash on the outside—dead men’s bones on the inside.

So we learn that naiveté is not in our best interest. True and fair enough. We do need to be aware and use the good sense God gave us in life. There’s no virtue in being gullible. But what is to be lamented is that along with naiveté, we too often conclude that trusting is also not in our best interest. So we scrap it too—and decide that the only way to deal with the asterisks is to become thoroughgoing, suspicious skeptics—even cynics.

So long as sin is alive and well, we may never get away from the sneaky, deceitful asterisks. But I really look forward to Life Part II, when sin is stone cold dead and asterisks are too. I could really go for a world where what you see is always exactly what you get.


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