What do you do when a mentor you've known for over a decade is revealed to be a liar? How do you process that you have been systematically lied to for over 10 years? What do you do when someone you respected and admired has such a tremendous fall from grace that you must completely sever all connection to them?
A good name is seldom regained. When character is gone, all is gone, and one of the richest jewels of life is lost forever. - Joel Hawes
If I told you this was an easy thing to go through, I would be lying. It is rather unnerving when someone you respected and admired falls so far. Worse still, this former mentor has no remorse and continues to lie to others. They are not interested in healing and making things right - they care only for themselves.
When you have a mentor for over a decade and they are shown to be liars and frauds, you feel a whole host of emotions. Shock that you were lied to for so long and didn't realize it. Anger that this person took advantage of you and your belief in them. But the greatest emotion I have felt towards this former mentor is pity. Pity because they have chosen to live a sad, lonely life of lies, cheating and deception. They were smart enough to have chosen to live with honor and integrity but instead, they chose lies & deceit.
Pity because all their talk about being a strong, virtuous man of honor and integrity is a complete sham. Sadness because you realize the man you once thought was courageous is actually a coward. This former mentor is so hostile towards the truth that there is no persuading or reasoning with them to abandon their deception and come clean.
Have you ever lost a mentor? Was there someone you once admired and respected greatly but you discovered later that they were not deserving of such affections? How did you handle it? How did you feel once you discovered the truth?
I have chosen to handle my situation with silence and resignation. Resigned to the fact that others who admire this man will falsely accuse me of being a coward or an ingrate. Resigned to the fact that others will not understand because they don't want to know the truth either.
My petition to you today my dear warrior is this: no matter how hard a task is, be of the truth. Take a stand for what is right, regardless of personal cost. Lies and deception are only ever short-term benefactors which exact a cruel and punishing tax later on.
This former mentor is reaping what he has sown - the inability to form close human relationships (because if anyone gets too close, they'll see the web of lies and he'll be exposed), the taxing mental exhaustion of always having to remember who you told what lie to in order to hold the mythology together (I cannot fathom the mental exhaustion that requires), the subtle, perhaps even sub-conscious, gnawing feeling and knowing that the people who follow you only follow you for your perceived utility to them, not because they genuinely care for you as a person.
Simon Sinek once said, "There are leaders and there are those who lead. And they are not the same thing." This mentor was a leader but he is not someone who leads. He has the titles, and position of authority, but he does not lead. Real leaders have followers who would lay their life down for them. When an outsider asks a follower of someone who leads, "Why do you sacrifice and toil at personal loss for this person?" The follower says calmly and with conviction, "Because he'd do the same for me." This former mentor would not “do the same for me.” He cares only for himself.
I say to you my fellow warrior to be strong in your conviction and to defend the truth. In the short term, you will be hard pressed to see the benefit due to the lies and indignation of those around you. But over time, you will realize that the truth is a firm foundation that gives you stability. Lies can only ever off the illusion of stability. In truth, you must work fervently, day and night, to maintain the fabric of the lies lest your deception be discovered.
"A false witness shall not be unpunished: and he that speaketh lies shall not escape." - Proverbs 19:5
In the long run, there is no way to avoid paying the debt of your lies. Be strong now, and speak the truth. Do not be as my former mentor who lives in misery due his lies. By misery I mean internal, spiritual and mental misery. Oh no doubt he will give the outward appearance of being "never better" but inwardly, what chaos.
I have one more word of advice which I have now earned and learned the hard way. Listen to me very carefully and what I am about to write. Take it to heart now so you do not have to experience what I have:
Place your trust first in the truth of a man's words & actions; not in a personality, charm, or charisma. The latter things can be faked and manufactured, but a character built on a foundation of truth cannot be faked. My pitfall, and what allowed me to be deceived for over 10 years, was because I looked to the man's personality, his command presence and his charisma instead of to the truth of his words and deeds.
Hear me! NO MAN HAS A MONOPOLY ON TRUTH! Follow truth instead of a man. The Truth is eternal and unchanging, stable and reliable. A man is fickle, deceitful, & oftentimes full of wickedness.
This is my prayer for you dear warrior. Place truth above all else. "...And the truth will set you free." - John 8:32
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National Speaker, author, blogger, and life-long student of warrior arts and science.