The Problem with Dissociation
The Bible has much to say about lying. It has been written in stone that people are not to lie. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). The reason for this Divine prohibition is that God, who is holy and true, hates lying. “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:16-17). Because lying destroys society, because lying is an assault on the holiness of God, because lying is something that God hates, every person should examine themselves to see if they are a liar. “Let a man examine himself” (1 Corinthians 11:28).
When the truth is found, and a person is known to be a liar because they have lied, that sin should be confessed and forsaken, not justified and dismissed.
On February 27, 2019, Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald J. Trump testified before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Before an astonished world, Michael Cohen confessed he had lied to his clients, his family, his friends, and Congress, but insisted he is not a liar. Many people listening could not believe what they just heard, until Cohen repeated it again, and again. “I have lied, but I am not a liar,” said Cohen. “I have done bad things, but I am not a bad man.”
While many people listened in disbelief, others laughed out loud at the absurdity of his assertion. Common sense says that if a person lies, they are a liar. Georgia Representative Jody Hice told Cohen, during a heated exchange in the testimony, “If you’ve lied, then you are a liar.” Cohen shook his head back and forth sideways in disagreement.
So, a question arises. “Can we separate what someone does from who they are?”
Michael Cohen would answer in the affirmative based on stasis, a Greek term used to mean, “points of argument.” Wielding his stasis like a sword, Cohen revealed himself to be a person who is able to divide his actions from his essence. Cohen would say, “I lied on behalf of the President, but that was my job. In my own mind, in my essence, I am not a liar.”
People like Cohen are able to make this dramatic division between belief and behavior through the mental process of dissociation. In their mind, they dissociate what they do from who they are as a person.
Mental dissociation allows a person to do bad things, and still feel good about themselves. Mental dissociation is how a man can threaten his wife with divorce, verbally, or physically, slap her around, use profane language, throw items in anger, and then offer to take her out to dinner. He might do bad things, but he is not a bad person. He is not really as mean as a snake in his essence.
Mental dissociation is how a person can lie, cheat, and steal from others, and take a paycheck for so doing. It is only a job. It is not who they are in their essence. For Michael Cohen, lying and do bad things to others was just being a good lawyer.
Mental dissociation is how a woman can be mentally and emotionally unfaithful to her husband, then bear his children, take care of the house, and dress up for Sunday School and Church on Sunday. She might do bad things, but she is not a bad person, in her essence. Some women go so far as to be physically unfaithful to their husband as well. But they are not bad, in their essence.
Mental disassociation is how a woman can deliberately destroy the precious baby growing in her body, and then give lectures on morality to others.
Mental disassociation is how young people can text mean and obscene messages, send inappropriate photos to one another, laugh and giggle, lead others into greater acts of immorality, and then study the Bible in a Christian school, or a Sunday School class. They are good young people, in their essence. Their pastors, parents, teachers, and school administrators, reaffirm this false belief.
Is it any wonder that the Bible teaches, “There is none righteous, no not one” (Rom. 3:10)? These words are given by God, not to make people feel badly about themselves, but to bring individuals to repentance and salvation. But then, why should anyone repent when they are basically a good person, in their essence?
The Word of God calls upon the Michael Cohens of this world to rethink their position. The Word of God calls upon all people to stop being Great Pretenders and become honest before God, and honest with themselves.
Here is the truth. The essence of the Natural Man is sin, and the manifestation of sin’s essence is to lie, cheat, steal, lust, kill, hate, and hurt others. People do not do bad things, and then become a sinner. People do bad things because they are a sinner, in their essence. The sooner this horrible reality is affirmed in self, the soon inner and spiritual healing can begin.
It does not matter how many good deeds a person does when they are not being a liar, a murderer, an adulterous, a fornicator, or a cheat. Good works do not mitigate the evil that a person does. Good works cannot atone for our transgressions. Good works cannot make the pain we inflict on self, and others, go away. Good works cannot make a liar, a cheat, a scoundrel, a murderer, a rapist, a good person, in their essence.
What can wash away my sin? The Divine answer is, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
If a person wants to have an integrated personality, they must begin to speak the truth. The truth shall make the soul free.
The truth is that Michael Cohen lied because he is a liar, regardless of stasis, points of legal argument, or any another other mental gymnastics, such as dissociation.
The truth is that all people are sinners in the sight of God by birth, and by choice. There is none righteous before God, in their essence for those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
What then can be done?
The Divine solution is to be born again. In Christ, a person receives a new essence. People can be fundamentally and forever different, in Jesus. This does not mean people cease to sin after salvation. Christian are terrible sinners, and anyone who says they have no sin is a liar. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Sin. That is the critical point. There is sin in the soul. It is part of the essence of a person, even those who are born again. Sin in the soul is real, and explains why humans manifest terrible behavior. But the difference is this.
Sin, in the Christian is not dismissed. It is confessed and forsaken. Sin in the Christian is not minimized by saying, “That is not who I am.” Sin is not dissociated from self. Sin is confessed, forsaken, and forgiven by God because it is confessed and forsaken.
Man says, God says. In the end, “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).