One of the best lessons I learned in running 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 others we should take 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 – and especially if you sign up with the big boys and girls to run for office, your life becomes an open book with the most poorly lived chapters becoming fodder for your enemies. You will be blogged about, talked about, lied about and your life turned about.
But the one mistake we all make, and one that I made until I learned better was this. In an effort to not look bad or worse, be thought of by people as being bad, we won’t admit wrong.
The greatest defense we have is not to take offense to something we know we’ve done wrong. Once we do, we have taken the bait of the Enemy and we become entrapped by cover-ups and deceit – which he knows and we all too late learn, will have no good end.
Though what we did may have been bad, the worst thing we can do is try to cover it up. Trust me on this one, 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? Like Johnny Cochran said of O.J. and the glove (though to this day I believe the man was guilty), “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 already admitted to.
Admission takes away ammunition. And as for the press, once the bleeding stops the leads stop. You will become old news and in their business, old news is no news.
Now, does this mean spilling your guts? Not at all. But when confronted by and dogged by opponents and political enemies, don’t let them hold anything over your head because if you do, it will hold you back.
This is one of Satan’s tactics to hold us back – to use people (dare I say sometimes even Christian people) to use what they know about us, to shut our mouth and thus shut us down. It’s called “the shame game.” Don’t play it.
When I ran for office, my friends will tell you, a guy made it his business each time to blog something negative about me every day. I hid nothing from my people or my constituents. But today, he sits in prison serving three ten-year terms for sexual abuse of a child.
Know this, the very people who accuse you the most, more likely than not, are the very ones who themselves are most guilty of something. You owe them nothing. But to the people you represent, you at least owe them the truth.
The problem is we say we trust God, but in reality we really don’t. God and God alone holds our past, present and future. None of us have been or ever will be perfect. It’s just that our imperfections, as public people, get magnified under the magnification of public scrutiny. All the more to be honest with yourself and honest with 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 that, our enemies have us where they want us. And we are stuck in a paralyzing place we don’t want to be.
People and the press count on the cover up and as Christians we should do anything but oblige them. Why? Because our future is in God’s hands, not theirs. The trouble is, we think that people hold all the cards. If that were true, no matter our title or position we have given to them the winning hand.
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 be 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.
This in reality is the cause of so many downfalls. Not so much the act, but the act of covering it up.
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:
- “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. And I am sorry that it happened. I did my best to make it right and my conscience is clear. It hasn’t happened since, nor with the Lord’s help will it happen again.”
- “Yeah, given my thinking at the time that sounds like something I would have probably said (or done). But thank God I’ve grown since then.”
- “Yes, but you need to hear my side of the story.” Be brief and then be quiet. No long explanations necessary.
From these, 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 their ammunition. Being evasive or going on the offensive in our business are the kisses of death. And remember, people in the end are more likely to forgive a confessed mistake than a covered up lie. They just will.
In the story of David and Goliath people most of the time focus on the manner in which David slew the giant – with a slingshot and a stone. But before David took on Goliath he did two critical things. The first thing he did was leave his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper.
Secondly, he ran toward the battle line (1 Samuel 17:22). In confronting the Goliath of accusation, we too must leave our baggage (i.e., past mistakes and forgiven sins) in the care of the baggage keeper – Jesus. Secondly, run toward not away from our accusers trusting God for the outcome. And like those watching David take on Goliath, your enemies and naysayers not only will be amazed, but silenced.
Published on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 @ 2:03 PM CDT