Exoneration

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.

Still ….

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.


  • Hebrews 10:30

    30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”
  • Leviticus 19:18

    18 “ ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

    Proverbs 20:22

    22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you.
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Display of His Splendor

Cindi Gale

Isaiah 61 – The Year of the Lord’s Favor

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

sunset-feb-17-2017-display-of-his-splendor

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What Do You See?

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Originally posted on Cindi Gale:
I took a long walk in the countryside near my home last month. It was a dreary day. Overcast. Colorless. Chilly. Lifeless. I considered the gray day an appropriate metaphor for lives afflicted by cancer, injury and disease, injustice and abuse, theft and destruction, or hatred and rejection. It happened to be Inauguration Day here…

I Will Tell Them Plainly

If you haven’t spent time alone with Him to know Him …

If you haven’t heard directly from Him what His thoughts are …

If you haven’t studied His eyes and heart until you understand His feelings …

yellow animal eyes furIf you’ve only consumed theologies and teachings about Him …

No matter how many weeks and months and years and decades you spent feeding at the table of your religion …

If you learned the scriptures that support your existing opinions and ignore the ones that would disrupt them …

Then … 

You only know man’s interpretations and beliefs about Him, or …

You know your own “truths”.

You know mission statements.

You know your specific group’s theology.

You know your specific church’s or denomination’s culture.

You call “true” what your people tell you to call “true”.

You call “right” what your people tell you to call “right”.

But is it what God would say if you would but listen to Him? 

You may not know God well enough to fuel that confidence in your opinions …

You may not know God at all.

And yet you are sure you are speaking for Him.

Don’t be fooled …

Pride and self-righteousness and power feel good in the short term …

But pride comes before a fall.

No matter how brazen or angry or certain or large your tribe …

Majority thinking does not equate to an endorsement by God.

There is no substitute for knowing Him. 

Matthew 7: 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

close up shot of lion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fan The Flames

Cindi Gale

I’m not a fan of futility. I’ve noticed it’s about the biggest oppressor of my spirit. I don’t mind hardship so much if it yields something good. But if trouble is all for nothing—if there are no improved conditions, if all is futile—then the flames of my hope, ambition, purpose, and joy are reduced to smoldering embers.

In Romans 8:20, it says: For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

The NIV version uses the word “frustration” instead of “futility.” That doesn’t sound any better. And I’m curious about the phrase, “because of him who subjected it.” It implies God may be the one responsible for frustrating us. Why would he do that? And if…

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The Power of Water

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Revelation 22:1

Imagine a dry riverbed. People stand in and near it, waiting. Hoping. Needing. Pleading.

Finally, one day the river fills with pure, clear water.

 

The water cleanses, flushes, and fills those who have been powerless to make changes on their own. Some are permanently freed when unwanted traits and habits are flushed by the ethereal water; others’ positions or geographical locations change.

Many are filled where there had been voids within. They finally feel complete. Whole. Right. They are experiencing what they have always believed they should be, or could be. Inner deficiencies are overcome. They no longer lack qualities elusive since birth, or lost in their years of parched deserts.

For these people, life changes suddenly. Altered forever. Changed in the way that life changed for survivors of concentration and POW camps on liberation day:  blurred days of lack, sameness, captivity, injustice, disrespect, torture, betrayal, and abuse, all having caused erosion of hope, suddenly ended.

With the arrival of the river comes deliverance, and the past is over. Hope leaps to life, justice yields joy, and lives of abundance and purpose replace lives of lack and insufficiency.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

Ask, and don’t be surprised when you are suddenly affected in one of these ways. You will love the change and be forever grateful to God for what he did. Be assured that the water soon (or already) enveloping and filling you is God’s living water, intended for good for you, and never evil. Intended to complete and make whole, and make possible your abundant life. May you take great delight in it.

 

Extraordinary Night

A week ago I woke to incoming texts from a friend, “Are you up?” I responded, “Yes”, and in a moment she called.

She had had a dream in the night. In it, she heard a speeding car and then a crash. She believed it had really happened, so she took note of the time (2:42), fought the urge to fall back to sleep, and made herself get out of bed.

Because, in her words, “I had to go find it. You can’t call 911 and say, ‘I had a dream there was a crash’.

Her husband woke to my friend getting dressed to go out. “What’s up?” he asked, and after hearing her dream, said, “You’re going”, not to question her judgment, but as a statement of fact. He too, got out of the warm bed in the dead of night, dressed, and grabbed his high-powered flashlight.

To help her search. For a crash. That happened in a dream.

Their progress was slow. My friend scanned from the passenger side of their car with her phone flashlight, her husband scanned his side with his powerful light. They continued through their town into the country, searching ditches and fields. They passed home after home where people slept, not letting the fact that no one else had heard anything deter them.

Just after 3 a.m., they rounded a curve and found it: scattered car parts. And finally, deep in a ditch, a mangled car.

My friend’s husband called 911 (because now they could), and they approached the car, expecting the worse. They found all the airbags deployed, and … no body. While he stayed on the phone with 911, my friend walked to a nearby field as if she expected to find someone there. She called out to the darkness, “We’re here to help you.”

Nothing.

“We’re here to help you.”

Out of the darkness, slowly, a young man emerged. Bleeding from his head, holding an injured shoulder. Saying, from a distance, “I have to go. I gotta go”, and he poised to flee again.

“Think of me as your mom,” she called, and he stopped. “Is there anyone else with you?”

No. He’d dropped his girlfriend off at her home before it happened. “I’m going to be in so much trouble. I’m going to lose my job.” Again, “I’ve gotta go.”

My friend persisted. “Your mom will be so glad that you are alive. Your girlfriend wasn’t hurt, nobody else was hurt. It will be hard ahead, it will suck. But you can do it. It will be hard but you will get past it, you will be fine.” As she relived the details, I could hear the love in her voice for the young man.

He obviously heard it, too. He ended up in her arms, and she held him. He reeked of alcohol. It didn’t change anything for her.

He went with her to the crash site, and put up no resistance when the police took him into custody.

I wonder if he remembers the night at all — maybe he was too drunk and blacked out. Maybe he thinks he dreamed about a wonderful, loving woman who found him in a field in the middle of the night. Maybe he realizes he could have died if he’d passed out in that frozen remote field, so many hours from daylight and visibility. Maybe he thinks an angel arrived to help him. I don’t know, but I believe he remembers the important things my friend imbued:  that he matters; that he can take the high road and face the consequences of his actions; that he can get past it; that there is plenty of hope for a good future.

I believe this too: That something extraordinary happened that night.

Because she had a dream and believed it was real.

And because her husband believed her.