A few millennia ago, Solomon said, “Do not speak in the ears of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.”
My wife was in the left turn lane of a busy boulevard in our community, a suburb of New Orleans. A driver who insisted on maneuvering his car across five lanes of traffic–he was crossing the street!–managed to hit her car on the side, just behind the right front tire. Then, he had the audacity to sue her, saying she had hit him.
In court, the judge noted our photos showing the front of the man’s car smashed and the side of my wife’s car dented.
“Mr. Davis,” the judge said, “Don’t you mean you hit her car?”
“Oh, no sir, judge. She hit me.”
Even when the magistrate pointed out that for this to occur, her car would have had to be moving sideways, the man kept insisting that she had hit him.
The case was thrown out.
There’s more to this.
A few days before we had the fender fixed, Margaret had my car and had gone out of town. I drove her car with the dent to the mall. When I came out, an hour later, there was a note on the windshield. “A green Taurus backed into your car. Tag number 567-A.”
What was interesting about that was that the Taurus had hit the fender just behind the damage from the first accident.
The next morning, I ran by the local police department and reported it. The sergeant was not supposed to do this, but he let me read over his shoulder the name and address of the culprit who had hit my car and then driven off.
I decided to pay the fellow a visit.
Hey, one does not survive as a Baptist preacher without a certain amount of nerve!
When I arrived at the address, that same Taurus was just pulling into the driveway. I walked up and spotted the deep scratch showing paint from my wife’s car.
“What are you doing?” the driver asked.
“Just checking to see where your car hit mine last night.”
His wife got out of the car and said, “He didn’t hit your car.”
I said, “Maybe not, but that car hit my car. There’s my paint on your fender. And if you’ll come over here, I’ll show you your paint on mine.”
“Sir,” the woman insisted, “he did not hit you.”
I said, “Ma’am, I have no idea who the driver was. But an eyewitness saw it happen and wrote down your tag number. I got your address from the police.”
“We didn’t do it,” she said.
I smiled and said, “Well, the police have the information now. They’re always interested in people who run into other people’s cars and then drive away. You folks have a nice day.”
I left, knowing full well that they would never hear from the police. But they didn’t know that. Let them stew over it a few days. It’ll do them good.
Denial, they say, is not a river in Egypt. It is alive and well as a defense mechanism for people unwilling to face reality and take accountability for their deeds.
In Watergate days, it was called “stonewalling.” You look your accuser in the face without blinking and vow and declare that you have no knowledge of what he’s talking about.
Most people call it lying.
We remember O.J. Simpson announcing he “never wore those dumb*** shoes” even when photographers came up with pictures proving otherwise.
Normal people never perfect the art of prevarication as it requires a total suspension of self-respect and honor.
Many years back, the FBI running a drug sting managed to catch the mayor of Washington, D.C., on video tape participating in a drug buy. There it was in living color for all the world to see. Had youtube been around then, it would have gone viral. But the mayor denied it. “I never did it,” his (lack of) honor kept protesting. A newsman commented, “The man has no sense of shame.”
After 9-11, citizens of some Middle East countries would watch videos of Osama bin Laden admitting planning the terrorist acts that took place in America that 2001 day, and they denied his guilt. “He did not do this,” they said. “The tapes are fakes.” One wondered what it would have taken to convince them.
I have unfriended a few Facebook “friends” who seemed to thrive on arguing. Their favorite activity was finding a statement from some well-meaning soul and begin a controversy, no matter that it was only barely related to the subject at hand. And, when some unsuspecting friend responded to them–thinking they were dealing with a rational person–they were off and running. Then, when I sent a private message asking them to stop this, they accused me of caving in to liberals, cowardice in the face of courage, that sort of thing. Life is too short for this kind of foolishness. Deleting them from my friends’ list was a privilege, one I thoroughly enjoyed.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)
The word for “confess” means to “say the same thing” which the Lord says about something. That is, to agree with Him that what I did was wrong. Only when I do that–when I identify the cancer, call it by name, and give the Doctor permission to do surgery–only then can a faithful, loving Lord remove it and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
There is at least one place in the universe where excuse-making, denials, and stonewalling will not stand up: In the presence of the Lord Himself. “Every tongue shall confess,” says Philippians 2:10.