The views and opinions expressed in Calibrate belong solely to Dorothy. They are not and do not necessarily reflect the opinion(s) or position(s) of the organization, board of directors and/or any other individual(s) or entity (ies) affiliated or unaffiliated with Christians in Public Service, Inc. 


 

How to Defeat Your Accusers - Admission Takes Away Their Ammunition
Monday, April 22, 2019 2:42 PM

How to Defeat Your Accusers - Admission Takes Away Their Ammunition

Monday, April 22, 2019 2:42 PM
Monday, April 22, 2019 2:42 PM

One of the best lessons I learned when I ran for political office was to run toward not away from accusations.

The thing most people don’t understand, but Christians well should, is the power of confession. Granted, some things should be kept between us and God and taken to our grave.

But the cover-up in many cases is worse than the crime. And our Enemy, Satan, who is the master deceiver, whom Jesus calls the father of lies (John 8:44) knows the worst fear of anyone in public service is that someone will find out something about something we have done; or, are doing that would bring shame and ridicule.

May I share something with you? When you sign up for public service, I don’t care if it is as a meter reader or mayor, your life becomes an open book with the most poorly lived chapters becoming fodder for our enemies. You will be blogged about, talked about, written about on social media, lied about and your life turned inside-out.

But in some cases, what is being said is not a lie, but the truth.

The one mistake we all make and one that I made until I learned better is this: In an effort to not look bad or worse, be thought of by people as being bad, we won’t admit wrong.

However, the greatest defense we have is not to take offense to something we know we’ve done wrong. Once we do, we will become trapped by our own traps of cover-ups and deceit, which have no good end. 

Though what we did may have been bad, the worst thing we can do is try to cover it up. Two things are certain: what is covered will be uncovered and what is hidden will be made known.

Do you know that your enemies, whether they be political or otherwise will never be able to hold anything over your head if you admit to it? 

As Johnny Cochran infamously said to the jury of O.J. Simpson during the high drama courtroom glove scene, “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”  

Same with us but with a little different twist – “if we admit it, they will quit it.” 

People can’t keep accusing you of things you've readily admitted to. Admission takes away ammunition.

And as far as the press is concerned, since "if it bleeds it leads," - once the bleeding stops the leads stop.

You will become old news in a 24/7 news cycle that moves faster than the speed of sound and in media, old news may as well be no news at all.

Does this mean spilling your guts? Not at all. But when confronted by and dogged by opponents and political enemies, tell the truth.

Don’t allow them to hold anything over your head by loading the gun and handing it to them to shoot your career in the head.

Don't play a shell game with them and they can't play the shame game with you. The truth may sting, but a lie will bite.

Sometimes the very people who accuse you most, who try to shame you the most, and throw the most rocks, themselves live in glass houses.

To them you owe nothing. But to those whom you represent or vying to represent, you owe them the truth.

In reality, the cause of most downfalls is not the act itself, but the act of covering it up. A cover-up is always a self-made setup.

None of us has lived a perfect life. The only one that can lay claim to that is Jesus Christ. And even he was crucified for that. So, can we, as imperfect as we are, expect to escape scrutiny and accusations; some true, others not? Of course not.

However, our imperfections, as public people, get magnified under the magnification of public scrutiny. All the more to be honest with yourself and others.

So when someone digs into your past to smear you and to inform others of just how bad of a person you are, don’t dig in your heels.

Once we do this, our enemies have us where they want us. And we are stuck in paralyzing quicksand, sinking deeper and deeper into denial.

Our enemies and the media count on the cover-up. But a person of character will never oblige.

You don’t owe the world a thing, but you do owe those that have placed their vote and confidence in you the truth.

Be honest and confident enough in the God we serve for the outcome. The one thing that prevents us from ‘fessing up is the one thing that God hates most – pride. And once because of pride we lie to cover up, God removes his hand of protection and we get swallowed up in the quicksand of deceit.

In reality, the cause of most downfalls is not the act itself, but the act of covering it up. A cover-up is always a self-made setup. 

When an enemy confronts you in order to embarrass or harm your reputation by something you’ve done in your past, remember these short but effective responses:

  1. “Yes, I did that. I’m not proud about it and had I been more mature in my thinking, my actions would have been totally different. I regret to this day that it happened. I have worked to make it right, myself better and my conscience is clear. It hasn’t happened since, nor will it happen again.”

  2. “Given my thinking at the time that sounds like something I would have probably said (or done). But thank God I, like so many, have grown since then.”

  3. “Yes, but you need to hear my side of the story.” Tell your side. Be brief and then be quiet. Never linger in long explanations because you likely will say more than is needed and give them fresh ammunition.

From there, let people make up their own mind. They are going to think what they want anyway, but at least you have set the record straight and taken away your enemy's firepower.

For a public servant leader, being obviously evasive or going on the offensive can be the kiss of death, particularly in local governments.

Don't lie about it and don't cover up. Ideally, be mindful of actions upfront, keeping at the forefront of your thinking that every private action of a public leader can lead to a viral public social media post.

My experience has been that people are more likely to forgive a leader of a confessed mistake more readily than a covered-up lie.

People don't like to be misled or lied to. Yet, they can identify with someone who just flat-out blew it and admit it because they themselves have at some point blown it and can identify.

What they won't abide, however, is deception - particularly when you have won their trust. 

www.dorothyburton.com

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