They say hindsight is 20/20 and according to the book of Cohen sometimes that 20/20 moment comes a little too late. Approximately 16 million people tuned into the public testimony starring Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal attorney. According to The New York Times, Cohen voluntary testified in front of the Oversight Committee this week because he wanted to give a full and credible account of the events in question.
In case you forgot Cohen pleaded guilty to tax fraud and making a false statement to a bank and a campaign finance violation. Well, the twist is that Cohen claims that the campaign finance violation was the result of hush money payments he made for Donald Trump's alleged affair with Stormy Daniels. So why does this matter? Well, he lied before Congress, he is going to prison and now he's sharing his truth with the American people. The question for many boils down to why is his truth coming out now? Some would argue that he has so much to say now because he's going to prison. Can he really be trusted at this point?
That's the burning question for many when the truth comes to light and a lie is revealed. Some call them white lies, broken promises, exaggerations, and alternative facts but in the end, a lie is a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood according to the dictionary's definition.
But I would even challenge us to dig a little deeper. The definition of a lie is pretty straight forward but there are some grey areas that some of us may be more familiar with and that is silence. Our silence speaks volumes, our silence sends a message, our silence seeks to protect or avoid confrontation. Confrontation is hard but necessary. The New York Times article says it best, "Silence is a loud voice. It shouts nothing important is happening, don't worry. So when something important is going on, silence is a lie."
I have been guilty of being silent during those uncomfortable situations that would adversely impact me and/or others. When that uncomfortable feeling sinks in its human nature for us to try to rationalize things with phrases like, that's not my business or what can I do about? How many times do we see stories where a group of teens record a fight or some unlawful act and the parents are left in the dark because no one says anything. Or consider working or volunteering in an industry where your boss asks you to turn a blind eye to something or to skirt around the law or policy just this one time for the great good of something that would benefit you and the organization. Ouch! It's so easy to judge, right? But I've had Cohen moments and I'm not proud of them either. Some of my Cohen moments occurred when I was young and lacked wisdom and other moments happened when I knew better but did the opposite to save myself.
In addition to silence, we also categorize lies in an effort to make ourselves feel better. Does the term, white lie sound familiar? If we are honest with ourselves we probably at one time in our life justified bending the truth because we didn't think we were hurting anyone.
Whether lies are revealed now or later they always come to light. Why? Because lies are flimsy and can't be sustained over time. Some may believe that you can take a lie to the grave but don't forget we got shovels.
I humbly offer a nugget of wisdom and some lessons learned that I've learned when a lie is ultimately revealed because there is life after the lie.
A lie has no legs, and cannot stand, but it has wings, and can fly far and wide.
LIES HAVE AN EXPIRATION DATE
At the end of the day, we all want the truth even if it comes years later. The truth is light but lies and alternative facts can be weighty. Like Cohen, I have lied to save myself in some form or fashion and it's a heavy load to carry. Lies don't last because they are mentally and spiritually too heavy to bear.
ALL LIES MATTER AND HAVE CONSEQUENCES
Lies no matter how big or small carry some type of immediate or future consequence.
CONFRONTATION IS INEVITABLE
You will have to face people like Rep. Mike Meadows (R-NC) who will never believe anything that you ever say. These people will question everything from the timing of your offered truth to your role in the orchestration of the lie. You are guilty in their eyes and no amount of apologies or explanation will ever satisfy some of these people.
QUESTIONS ARE FOR UNDERSTANDING
You will also have to face people like Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, who wants more information. Drop your frustration when people ask you the same questions over and over again. Trust has been broken and questions are a part of that rebuilding process.
LIFE AFTER THE LIE
Ultimately, when you take responsibility and express remorse some may forgive you and others won't. Mending relationships take time and forgiveness is a process. Extend grace to yourself and others take some time to work on yourself versus trying to convince others of your change.
Now don't get me wrong lying doesn't make you a horrible person. However, when you lie, support a lie, remain silent about a lie, or exaggerate it speaks to our fragile humanity as well as our brokeness. God's forgiveness offers us healing but that healing does not release us from the consequences of our actions. So, what are your thoughts? What's your most valuable lesson?