During this year’s Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey gave an acceptance speech stirring the audience regarding the #MeToo movement. “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” Later, she added, “For too long women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up.” Why is there a phrasing between “your truth” and “the truth.” Your truth is a convenient way of “undermining the possibility of agreed-upon facts in favor of privatized, separate versions of reality.”
From the biblical perspective, there is no room for a privatized, individual, subjective notion of truth. At Jesus’ trial, Pilate asked, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). The Christian faith points to Jesus as the truth and that truth is found in relationship with Jesus, who declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Archbishop Charles Chaput reminds us, “Truth exists, whether we like it or not. We don’t create truth; we find it, and we have no power to change it to our tastes.” “The essential feature and necessity of life,” observes Malcolm Muggeridge, “is to know reality which means knowing God.” Truth is found in a person and is supremely relational.
Jesus tells us, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:38). Men, I cannot stress how vital it is to commit to putting your lifestyle and worldview under the authority of Scripture, “For the Word that God speaks is alive and active; it cuts more keenly than a two-edged sword: it strikes through to the place where soul and spirit meet, to the innermost intimacies of a man’s being: it examines the very thoughts and motives of a man’s heart” (Heb. 4 :2 – Phillips). We desperately need to know the truth about ourselves, even when it is painful.
The Word of God is a dynamic force that reveals the truth not only of outward reality, but also of our inner life. Men pride themselves in being objective. But let’s not kid ourselves. When it comes to our inner life we live with uncertainty and confusion. What we don’t understand, we tend to ignore, attempting to repress any impulse of the Holy Spirit that would bring awareness to the ignoble parts of our inner life. David declares, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me” (Ps. 139:1).
God’s Word is like a mirror helping us see ourselves as we really are. It helps reveal the truth about ourselves – not simply “our truth.” “The man who simply hears and does nothing about it is like a man catching the reflection of his natural face in a mirror. He see himself, it is true, but he goes off without the slightest recollection of what sort of person he saw in the mirror. But the man who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and makes a habit of so doing, is not the man who hears and forgets. He puts the law into practice and he wins true happiness” (James 1:23-25 – Phillips). In walking away we choose to live with our illusions, creating our version of the truth.
The soul can only flourish in reality. When we prefer illusion (our truth), the soul does not receive the light and energy necessary to sustain the spiritual life. Men, don’t live on the crumbs of your truth. Embrace truth even when it hurts. “The Spirit can make life,” Jesus declared. “Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen. Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making” (John 6:63 – Message).