A married couple in Florida, Tito and Amanda Watts, were arrested for selling “golden tickets to heaven” to hundreds of people. They sold them on the street for $99.99 per ticket, told buyers the tickets were made from solid gold, and that each ticket reserved the buyer a spot in heaven; simply present the ticket at the pearly gates and you’re in! Tito Watts said in his police statement: “I don’t care what the police say, the tickets are solid gold! And it was Jesus who give them to me behind the KFC and said to sell them so I could get me some money to go to outer space. I met an alien named Stevie who said if I got the cash together he’d take me and my wife on his flying saucer to his planet that’s made entirely of drugs. You should arrest Jesus because he’s the one that give me the golden tickets and said to sell them. I’m willing to wear a wire and set Jesus up!”
I think that we can safely say that Tito is delusional; quite often delusion is obvious to everyone except for the one in its grips. The dictionary defines delusion as: “A false belief held despite strong evidence against it; self-deception.” Unless there is a genetic or physiological element involved, delusion is not generally imposed upon us by others, but rather embraced by us. Sometimes self-imposed delusion can come about through misuse of drugs which can lead to a psychotic disconnectedness from reality. One addict commented about meth, his drug-of-choice: “How can it be so euphoric and so good and at the same time so terrible and so able to destroy your life?” Whether through drugs or other means, at the heart of delusion is the desire to escape reality and its unwanted demands; like meth, however, self-imposed delusion has a way of taking over one’s life and wrecking it upon the rocks.
How can we tell if delusion has a part in our life? A key component of delusion is that it denies and defies reality, and this attitude quite often produces strife. Do you feel that you are almost always at odds with people and situations? What part might your thinking play in this? What part does the desire to escape play in your choices? If, as the dictionary suggests, delusion is self-deception then in what areas might you be deceiving yourself? One can be sure that the refusal to even posit the possibility of self-deception is a pretty good indicator of its existence in one’s inner life.
So here’s a test: Can I interest you in a solid gold ticket into heaven? Let me know and I’ll give you Stevie’s number. I also have a bridge that I’d like to sell to you. Jesus told me to.