A book about a reclusive engineer and businessman might seem like a strange bet for a bestseller at first, but this particular book contract promised to be a giant success. If it worked out, it could be a huge publishing success. A relatively unknown novelist by the name of Clifford Irving and his associate Richard Suskind were offering the McGraw-Hill Publishers a deal. They were offering the company the publishing rights for the autobiography of the famous aviator and business magnate Howard Hughes. They claimed that Hughes had secretly approached them with the offer to help him write his life story. At this point in the early 1970s, Hughes was not only well-known for his film directing, engineering feats, and charisma, he was a tantalizing mystery (“Howard Hughes”). An autobiography that was well-written and revealing could be a huge sensation.
But in the midst of all the factual parts, they failed to take seriously the sketchy stories and details that Irving and Suskind had slipped in. It was only after the manuscript was well on its way towards being published that Hughes spoke up. Even though he had avoided the public eye for years, he finally appeared at a press conference over the phone (Smith). He exposed the two writers as liars saying that the juicy snippets they included were pure fiction. After pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy and grand larceny, both Irving and Suskind were sentenced to prison, Irving for two and a half years (Smith) and Suskind for six months (“Richard Suskind”).
Friends, deception comes in many disguises, but the core danger of a disarming lie is that it seems so much like truth. Jesus addresses this tricky aspect of deception when He says, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many…Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.” (Matthew 24:4, 5, 23-25) Friends, our blessed hope as Christians is infinitely more significant and beautiful than the publishing rights to a bestseller. We want to see our precious Savior face to face someday! But if we're not careful, we also run the risk of being deceived. In order to avoid falling into the devil's traps, we can diligently study Scripture and humbly admit that we are still students. We don't know everything, but we can know the truths that will guide us into a genuine, trusting friendship with Christ. Being ready for Jesus’ coming isn’t about knowing everything. It’s about building our faith on the solid truths of Scripture and trusting the One who knows the end from the beginning. We don’t have to fall into deception if we keep our trust in Jesus strong and stand on the pillar truths of the Bible.
Smith, Harrison. “Clifford Irving, who’s ‘autobiography of Howard Hughes nearly fooled the nation, dies at 87.” Washington Post: Obituaries. 21 December, 2017. Accessed September 1, 2020. Online. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/clifford-irving-whose-autobiography-of-howard-hughes-nearly-fooled-the-nation-dies-at-87/2017/12/21/83c7f9ba-e662-11e7-833f-155031558ff4_story.html
“Richard Suskind.” Wikipedia. 17 September 2019. Accessed September 1, 2020. Online. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Suskind
“Howard Hughes.” Wikipedia. 31 August 2020. Accessed September 1, 2020. Online. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Hughes