So many bad ideas start as needed corrections to real problems. “Speak your truth,” the exhortation dominating so much of our cultural discussion, originated as an encouragement for people to speak up about their feelings when they were being mistreated or taken advantage of. If you feel somebody is treating you poorly or you don’t appreciate something they did to you, it’s alright to say something to them about it. The original idea of letting others know you don’t like being treated as their doormat was and is a needed pushback for some.

Unfortunately, the terminology of “my truth” was wrong from the beginning and totally ripe for abuse. It quickly became a term used to push subjective feelings over objective facts. Now we’re dealing with the fallout of millions of people claiming they don’t have to submit to God in various ways because His Word doesn’t agree with “their truth.”

There’s a verbal sleight of hand at play here. It is a fact that someone feels a certain way about something (“Their truth”). The way they feel, however, is not necessarily a fact (“The truth”). To argue their feelings are not in accordance with fact is painted as denying the fact they feel that way, and the fact they feel that way is taken as confirmation that the way they feel is itself a fact.

For example: a man says he feels he is actually a woman (his truth). God’s Word, biology, and common sense tell us that no, he is in fact a man (the truth). This obviously puts his truth and the truth at odds, but to assert the truth should win out would be portrayed as denying him his right to feel that way and therefore rob him of his humanity. We can’t deny he feels that way, so that must be confirmation that his feelings are correct, the argument goes.

Like just about every other culturally popular idea right now, this line of reasoning collapses like a house of cards under any scrutiny whatsoever. However, it is still gaining ground all the time because of its appeal to emotion and the unavoidable truth that people like being told how great they are and that they never need to change.

That’s why the truth is central to Christianity. Left to our own thoughts we’re very good at justifying ourselves as good people who deserve God’s favor, because we’re also very good at creating a sliding scale. When “our truth” is the standard, it’s not unlike those headlines that say “Gov’t department investigates itself and finds no wrongdoing.” Of course we’re going to come to the conclusion that we’re in the right, and consequently that everyone else is the problem. We are not holy and just. God is, though, and that’s why His actual truth matters so much more than our subjective “truth.”

Jesus is the truth. God’s Word is the truth. That’s why Paul and others had so much to say about the importance of the truth. Notice particularly the emphasis on truth in Ephesians. As the apostle transitioned from the doctrinal discussions of chapters 1-3 to the practical discussions of chapters 4-6, he repeatedly emphasized truth as an essential element of the Christian life.

  • We are to “speak the truth in love” to one another to keep each other from being tossed about and deceived by the winds of false doctrine and man’s tricks and to bring each other to maturity in Christ, our head (4:15).
  • We are to reject the sinful ways of the Gentiles, as we have accepted that truth is in Jesus (4:20-21).
  • We are to reject lying and speak truth to our neighbor (4:25).
  • We are to walk as children of light, bearing the Spiritual fruits of goodness, righteousness, and truth (5:9).
  • We are to gird ourselves with the truth as part of our armor for spiritual warfare (6:14).

In all of those instances he is talking about the truth, not his truth. “My truth” doesn’t help anybody. The truth helps everybody. There is no recognition of our need for salvation without truth, and therefore no growth without truth.

But it’s very easy for most Christians to see the problem with my truth in matters like transgenderism. But the desire to grant ourselves authority to do whatever we want is not far from any of our hearts. Sometimes the truth is going to tell me my feelings are wrong, even if I think I’m completely justified. I don’t need empathy in that moment, with somebody validating my feelings and telling me I’m just fine. I need correction with the truth.

How many Christian husbands and wives need to hear they are part of the problem in their relationships and need to repent, too? How many of us have had conflicts with others in which we felt completely in the right despite being totally wrong in our words and actions? How easy is it to feel justified in a sin because somebody else provoked us into it, or because we deserved to do what we wanted, or even because God was somehow at fault (the “Adam” defense)?

Each of these are just assertions of “my truth,” only repackaged less blatantly. This is why we must commit ourselves to the truth and point each other to it regularly, even when it hurts – no, especially when it hurts.

We would do well to train ourselves to know the difference between our feelings and the truth. We would also do well to pursue the truth in study, pray for knowledge of the truth and discernment to see falsehoods, and surround ourselves with others who want to speak and hear the truth.