On this day of Michael Cohen’s public hearing before congress, it is the thing called truth that is on my mind. First, though, I want to disclose that my observations of truth have been in the making for many years. In the most upending time of my life, I discovered how truth is targeted, and how easily it can be obscured.
A person I knew for nearly two decades, first demonstrated the degree to which some people will hide and spin truth to avoid personal accountability for egregious wrongdoing.
This person I knew so well had something to hide. He knew I knew what that thing was.
He turned upside-down and inside-out to create a coverup. He caused many relationships to unravel and splinter. He told people his victims caused the unraveling. More than anyone, he focused on me. He ran his newly created lie by me, trying to make me believe it. I considered it, to keep peace and prevent the destruction of our world, but I immediately felt I was selling my soul to call lies true and truth lies. Though it was hard to imagine that anything could be worse than our sudden destruction, it turned out that there was: it was abstract, and I can’t explain it well, but when I entertained accepting his lies, I found myself at the edge of the pit of hell, and felt the chill of it.
Truth can be extremely painful, but the lies originating from hell itself are death to those who embrace them.
It was a close call, but I opted to stay with truth. That is when a part of him emerged that I never knew existed: somebody had to have caused the destruction that happened, so I was assigned the blame. He took his story to people ahead of what I might say. Though I never exposed him, he couldn’t be sure I wouldn’t, so he sacrificed me to save himself. To do proactive damage control, he represented me as a villain to strangers, acquaintances, friends, and family, a thing I still have trouble wrapping my head around. I never dreamed he could be so cruel, so inhumane, so unjust. Instead of acknowledging himself as the operator of the “wrecking ball” of our demolished lives, he claimed I released that wrecking ball. Which if you knew the thing that he did, isn’t plausible, but lies can be that desperate.
Why did I end up being the unlucky, chosen accused? Because I was the one person who knew the truth of what he had done and called it wrong.
People like him have no problem throwing innocent people under the bus. They have no conscience about doing great destruction to the lives of others. They do what they do, and if there is a negative fallout, or they are exposed, they look for someone to cast the blame onto. Often, that is the people who are in their current inner circle — they know the most; they see the most; they know the truth, so they become the focus of the perpetrator.
From the day of their exposure, this kind of guilty person creates lies, and builds on it as time goes on and new circumstances can be woven into their story. If their witnesses help them hide the truth, all is well, but if somebody dares to expose the truth … watch out … everything changes. That’s how people move from “trusted confidant and friend”, or “loved family member or spouse”, to “despised enemy” in a moment’s time.
In the story created by the guilty, those who know the truth and call it wrong must be vilified.
Many liars maintain a “lie-at-all-cost” stance even when caught in the evidence and proof of their shameful deeds. They reach a point when they actually believe their own lies; they believe themselves innocent. I even suspect their longtime, voluntary mental habits sometimes result in involuntary, diagnosable mental disorders.
They target their witness to discredit. They call their victim the liar. They rewrite the story and spin current events so that the perpetrator appears, at the least, justified in their actions. They frequently are intentional about self-marketing, creating a positive public image, which is easy enough to achieve: be seen on the right side of causes; join a church or similarly-respected and visible group; behave well in public; make sure every noble act is paraded before as many people as possible. They use any means available: legal or illegal, moral or immoral, ethical or unethical.
At the same time, they drop innuendos or blatant fabrications about the one who knows the truth: they paint over the exposer’s rightful reputation with a brush dipped in dark stain, and keep staining, and staining, and staining until their reputation is totally darkened.
More than anything, they deny their wrongful deeds were done. They deny, deny, deny. They alter dates, and times, and involved people, if they can. They change the facts and impose those lies onto people who don’t know enough, or at all, to discern correctly.
People who have something to hide often go to the greatest lengths to not let the truth be exposed. Truth is their enemy.
For those of you who have been victims of such a person, you have my sympathy. The greater the abuse, the greater your loss. For those who have suffered great losses at the hands of a chronic and persistent liar, I recognize that you have been put through hell. You have been slandered. A great injustice has been done to you.
Do not be tempted to get revenge.
I’m not suggesting you not defend yourself legally, or any of a number of responses that you may find yourself needing or having to do. I am saying: Don’t count on people to ask for your side of the story. Don’t count on people to even realize that they can’t know a story that they didn’t witness, that they must hear from you to have any chance at sorting through what is true and what is not. People simply do not like to wait — they like to grab the quick and easy conclusion to spare themselves the time and energy it requires to investigate a thing to its truth. Many even like to dislike you, they actually want to hear the lie that stains your good reputation.
So people are not who you are waiting on to give you your “fair hearing”, so-to-speak. More often than not, your desire for it is metaphorical, but as we saw in today’s literal hearing for Michael Cohen, even if you have your day in court, people are going to do what people do: they look for confirmation of their existing biases. Not all people, but unfortunately, many, many (maybe most) people will do that.
So don’t look to people for your ultimate justice.
God is the one who will exonerate you, regardless what legal judgments or people in general conclude about you. He will do it, if He sees that you are relying on Him alone.
If a vulnerable, innocent person came to you, and depended completely on you, and you had the wholeness of righteousness and character that God has, wouldn’t you help that vulnerable and innocent person? He/ she is not turning to others, he is turning to you for help. He is not attempting to regain his stolen reputation on his own; he may have been denied exoneration through that avenue anyway; he is not seeking revenge; he is not stooping to do to his abuser what was done to him; he is consistently taking the high road.
If an innocent person like that came to you for help, and you had the power to, you would not rest until you had exposed the lies and exonerated that innocent victim.
In the same way, God will help you, and will not rest until He has exposed the lies against you. He will exonerate you. If — and I repeat if — you refrain from getting revenge or pursuing exoneration on your own. If you do, that is reliance on yourself or people, and not on God.
Divided reliance results in incomplete restitution. Recovery will be limited by the power and laws of man.
Wholehearted reliance on God results in complete restitution. Recovery will be according to the unlimited power and laws of God.
If our imaginary vulnerable person only stopped by your house asking for help, but then decided to go out on his own instead, you’d be left at your door watching him leave, knowing he didn’t genuinely trust in you. You wouldn’t force yourself on him; he has free will to turn his back on you.
But if he came in and sat at your table, and crashed on your spare bed, and woke up in the morning with eyes swollen from crying, and day after day he stayed, depending on you to make it right for him … you would surely do it.
If you put your reliance completely and solely on God, He will be faithful to aid you until justice is completed on your behalf.
On this truth, you can depend. How do I know? — It happened to me.
30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”
18 “ ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you.