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Governor “time bomb” Christie and the Truth

Governor Christie on Letterman

Governor Christie on Letterman

If you’ve picked up on the spat between New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and former White House physician Connie Mariano there’s something to learn about dealing with the truth.

Mariano, a staunch republican, praised her fellow republican Christie, but didn’t pull any punches when it came to evaluating Christie’s health based on his obvious weight issues saying:

“I’m worried he may have a heart attack. I’m worried he may have a stroke… It’s almost like a time bomb waiting to happen unless he addresses those issues before running for office.”

Here’s the thing, the good doctor is correct. There’s no denying it. Anyone can see that the governor needs to address his weight, along with whatever underlying health issues he may have. You could argue that it isn’t anyone’s business, and that Mariano should keep her thoughts to herself.

Nevertheless, she’s still accurate in her observations even if she doesn’t have lab work, or a medical history to go on. The truth is Christie needs to get healthy. That isn’t so he can appease other politicians, or stop being the punch line for the likes of Jay Leno or David Letterman. He should address his health because it is the right thing to do. Because, in the same way he would demand others in public service to take their calling seriously, and handle their politics responsibly. He to, should consider it a privilege to serve, and he should do everything in his power to be able to serve without getting winded walking up Capital Hill. More importantly, he should get healthy so he can be around for his family.

But I worry that he won’t take this confrontation to heart, and will continue to tell the likes of Dr. Mariano and others to simply “shut up!” That really is no way to handle the truth. I get it though, no one wants to hear the truth in such a  public and humiliating way. Jesus wasn’t receptive to that sort of throwing people under the proverbial bus either! When the religious leaders drug the woman caught in the act of adultery out in broad daylight, to share the truth about her, Jesus essentially denounced their tactics. He turned the whole episode back on their heads when he knelt and wrote in the dirt revealing the dirt on those who accused her.

That’s the way Jesus dealt with the truth. He was never into humiliation, and intimidation. He always spoke the truth in love, wanting the best for the person who needed to hear the truth. That’s where our doctor got it wrong. With her public comments she essentially became like the Pharisees of Jesus day dragging Christie’s business out before a crowd ready to cast stones. What she needs to understand is that the goal isn’t to be right (and she was) the goal is to communicate the obvious truth in such a way that it brings about transformation.

Back to governor Christie. Hearing the truth is really a profound opportunity for something big to happen in our lives. That’s the way he should look at this. Opportunities like this don’t come around often because most people don’t tell us the truth. This is an opportunity that he could leverage and use to spark a movement that encourages all of us to get healthy and eat better.

Who knows what the political future holds for governor Christie. Whatever he ends up doing he will have to deal with being told the truth. Hopefully it’s done in a better way than Dr. Mariano has done it, but regardless, truth is truth, and it can be an opportunity for real transformation. Next time we see him on a late night talk show, I hope he’ll be talking about the changes he’s made and munching on an apple instead of a doughnut.

Some things to consider:

Think of a time when you know you were told the truth but you didn’t like how it came to you. Was it an opportunity to learn and grow? Would you have been more receptive if the way you were told the truth had been a bit more palatable? When have you spoken the truth to someone in a way that did more harm than good? What would you do different looking back on it?

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