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Christian Life
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Misunderstanding 'Your Truth': The Consequences of Hasty Reactions [Video]

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The phrase “your truth or my truth” is a popular phrase right now. However, the essence of this phrase is quite timeless.

When I was in college in the seventies, I had hair that resembled the shape of a motorcycle helmet. I had too many outfits that included fringe. That era was about “finding truth, baby,” or “being real, man.” Interestingly I had become a Christian at age sixteen while attending military school. Now that I was going to a Christian college, the world around me had shifted on several levels, and it was very exciting to me.

In an effort to “be real” in my newfound faith and Christian friendships, I opened up to another student about some personal issues. Later, he wrote me a note and told me to read Psalm 32:8–10, which says:

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go. I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check. Otherwise, they will not come near to you. Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him.”

Though it’s a great set of verses, I focused on verse 9. I thought this friend was telling me that I was a stupid mule, that I was wicked. I was offended by this, and since I wasn’t shy about confrontation, I decided he needed to know how I felt. I was going to “be real, man.” He needed to hear “my truth.” 

When I did, he said, “Oh, no, no, no. That’s not what I meant at all. I’m sorry, brother. I was just trying to encourage you that the Lord would instruct you and counsel you with His eye upon you.” 

He was so humble and meek, and when I realized what his intent was, I felt humiliated, embarrassed, and frankly, I was a big mule at that point. Because my feelings had been strong about this, I felt I was right to confront him and challenge him as he had challenged me. But it turned out I had totally misread his intent.

My truth felt true to me, but I was in fact wrong. Instead of asking questions, seeking clarification, or assuring him that I was trying to figure this out, I called into question his character and let my feelings justify my response. 

Speaking the truth is important, but how we speak the truth or clarify what we perceive to be true can make all the difference in sweetening or souring a relationship or even one’s own reputation.

My question to you is, have you soured a relationship recently after “speaking your truth”? Have you ruined a professional relationship by “speaking your truth”? Can you think of people you’ve distanced yourself from because they acted like me? 

Emerson Eggerichs, Ph.D.
Author, Speaker, Pastor

Questions to Consider

  1. What do most people mean today when they talk about “your truth” or “my truth”?
  2. Has there ever been a time when, like Emerson, you misinterpreted what someone was trying to tell you, which led to you unnecessarily calling him or her out with “your truth”? What happened? How could you have asked for clarification before responding the way you did?
  3. Emerson said, “My truth felt true to me, but I was in fact wrong.” Why is it dangerous to allow our feelings to dictate what we determine to be true?
  4. Have you soured or even ruined a relationship recently by “speaking your truth” unadvisedly? How might you begin today to heal that relationship?