The Disorienting Power of the Confident Lie


“‘Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”


Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have performed the commandment of the Lord.”

But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”

-I Samuel 15:3,13-14 NKJV

A confident liar is unsettling.

They can shake your own confidence in the truth even with the evidence staring right back at you–or “bleating” in your ears. This is very true in the case of infidelity and confronting cheaters. Some are just “that good” or unashamedly bold at lying.

This dynamic came to mind after watching John Oliver’s show regarding Donald Trump who, by the way, happens to be a cheater. In particular, Oliver speaks about the disorienting power of a confident liar when dealing with Trump’s assertion of turning down invitations from Oliver to appear on the show. It was a lie since there never was an invitation extended to Trump to appear on Oliver’s show.

The conversation about this confident lying starts at 2:52 and goes to about 4:05 (CAUTION: Adult content and vulgarity).

For faithful spouses who have dealt with their cheaters, this is not uncharted territory. We have experienced–firsthand–how unsettling it is to deal with an confident liar. And it is doubly painful coming from someone who has pledged their love and care exclusively to us.

After obtaining some rather damning evidence of infidelity, I remember confronting my cheating (now) ex-wife in a public space. She denied the cheating to my face with such confidence that I–like John Oliver in the clip above–started to doubt what I knew to be true from my evidence. It really was not until she coped to lying in that encounter three months later that I had peace in my original–correct–assessment that she had been sexually unfaithful to me.

I know I am not the only one who experienced or experiences such things. The disorienting power of the confident lie keeps many faithful spouses stuck as it did for me. It keeps us stuck doubting our senses, instincts, and even the hard evidence.

Trust your gut.

Accept that some cheaters will lie–like King Saul did–even with the evidence right there in front of you.

Sinful people do that.

And do not beat yourself up if you fell prey to such tactics. You are supposed to trust your spouse as they have freely vowed lifelong fidelity to you. That is what makes the confident lie from a spouse even worse than what comes out of a politician.

We expect or suspect politicians to lie. Whereas we assume the opposite for spouses. 

We love(d) our spouses and find lying about such a horrific thing–like cheating–unfathomable. At least, I did. So, it was hard for me to accept or believe that is exactly what happened that August day when I confronted my (now) ex-wife about her infidelity.

I have since become wiser and share my hard-won wisdom with others here:

This world contains people who are not only willing to commit adultery and upend their spouse’s world. It also contains such cheaters who are willing to continue to deceive and further hurt the spouse they violated by their infidelity. This is the reality of living in a world broken by sin.

Knowing this about humans, pastors and faithful spouses ought to be better equipped to face reality. Confident liars exist. Just because someone says it with conviction–e.g. “Nothing happened between us!”–does not make it so. Believe the evidence. Adultery and cheating–in general–means the person is a liar. It is best not to take a liar’s word at face value.


6 thoughts on “The Disorienting Power of the Confident Lie”

  1. It really is something you have to unlearn.
    After years of assuming that your spouse is your partner and wishes the best for you it is hard to let it go, especially for the the one who has been most committed to the marriage. In our divorce recovery groups, my wife and I keep repeating that your former spouse is no longer your partner, they are usually your adversary.
    The truth is in their actions, not in their words.

  2. So true DM, and it took a very long time for me to realize that myJesus-Cheater was so convincing because he actually did believe some of his own lies. Once I became aware of the fact that he was delusional, then I knew that my own truth was the solid reality.

  3. Confident liars are persuasive because they have no qualms, no anxiety about sinning. It’s like breathing air, they are adamant and assured in their demeanor, because they truly feel entitled to manipulate someone to get their way. There is no fear or reverence of God in their hearts, only selfishness. Lying people are very destructive.

  4. Song of Joy, my xh believed that his ow was meant to be his soulmate, that he wasn’t sinning, and that God already forgiven him. You cannot rationalize with someone who is delusional. I once told him that I didn’t know what Bible he read, or what God he praised but obviously wasn’t the same one I had.

    1. It’s the lack of guilty feelings…I suspect the delusional reasoning goes like this: He doesn’t feel guilty = it must be true that he’s really not guilty. Or, he doesn’t feel guilty = God must have already forgiven him and graciously spared him any remorse. It reminds me of this (apply to a man or a woman):
      Proverbs 30:20 NIV
      “This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.’

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