"Your Truth" May not be "The Truth"
Updated: Jan 4, 2021
Oprah Winfrey made headlines at last year's Golden Globe awards after coining a new phrase and redefining a very finite word - TRUTH. In her speech she spoke not of "the truth," or the objective reality of truth and falsehood, but "your truth," or your version of what's true, based on your experiences, opinions, and, of course, your feelings. This is a form of relativism, which, both biblically AND logically, does not hold water. Let me be frank with you here... if this type of thinking gains enough steam and we allow it enough space to change the way we think and talk, we're headed for disaster.
If you're a regular of Praise or have followed our teaching, you likely know where we stand on 'feelings.' Feelings aren't necessarily to be suppressed or ignored, but they should not guide our decision making, they should never rank higher than what the Bible says, what Jesus did, or what the Holy Spirit is saying, and they can and will lie to you, which is why they're dangerous.
Facts and Truth
One of my favorite political commentators, Ben Shapiro, has coined the famous phrase: "facts don't care about your feelings." He's right. Emotional, knee-jerk opinions and "feelings" should not and cannot influence what's not just to be "perceived" as fact or fiction, but what IS fact and fiction. A fact, defined as "a thing that is known or proved to be true," does not need you to agree with it... it just is. We're sure that Harrisburg is the capital of Pennsylvania. That's a fact. If someone were to disagree with this fact, they are wrong, not right. The question "what is the capital of Pennsylvania?" isn't a subjective question. It's either Harrisburg, or it's some other city... and it happens to be Harrisburg.
Fact and truth are sometimes used interchangeably but they are different. Fact is, at least in my view, a lesser term, although it is still important. It deals with information, data, figures, and assessments. Certain facts can lead to the ultimate conclusion of... the truth. But even facts can be misleading, depending on how they're presented and in what context they're considered. Truth, though, deals with something greater. Truth is the conclusion of a thing. It's not in process or "to be determined." Truth has a certain weight and responsibility behind it, as described by scripture. Here are just a few expressions of truth in the Bible.
The Holy Spirit is... the Voice of Truth - John 16:13
Prophecy - The Word of the Lord being spoken from Elijah's mouth is the truth - 1 Kings 17:24
The word of truth (the Bible - verse 15) and the status of being either in the truth or having been departed from the truth (verse 17) 2nd Timothy 2:14-19
A Characteristic of a Christian - the truth either being in you, or not in you 1 John 2:4
Grace and truth - both things coming through Jesus - John 1:17
Worship "...worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth" - John 4:24
Jesus' Teaching - knowing the truth, and having the truth set you free. John 8:32
Jesus is... the way, the truth, and the life... -John 14:6
It's a big deal that this movement has attacked truth, and not fact. It would still be a big deal if this common cultural phrase was "my facts," but it's even more concerning that it has chosen the term "truth" to repurpose and upend. How can a pop culture phrase, likely created on an emotional whim, redefine such a sacred, meaningful word? Truth is, according to John 14:6, the person of Jesus, certainly not the opinions or experiences of Jane Doe.
Why this Movement is Virtually Uncontested
If you're like me you're probably thinking..."this is obviously wrong - it's unacceptable - and we need to stop it." I've come to find out that not many people think like me! Let me explain why this type of thinking has become normal, and why it's largely unchallenged.
1. Bible illiteracy, luke warmness, a decline in genuine Christianity, & the proliferation of sin. These trends can be proven with data but this isn't a dissertation, so either take my word for it or do your own research. If we as Americans don't know His word, we're not serious about our relationship with Him and others, and we're walking in darkness, why would we be aware or even care about the redefining of such an important premise? In other words, if God isn't on our minds, in our hearts, or present in our actions and decisions, an onslaught on our speech, like the "your truth" deception, will either be undetected or ignored, generally speaking.
"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God." JOHN 3:19-21
2. The "Victim" is our Culture's King of the Hill.
Our obsession with victimhood has crossed the boundary line of healthy sympathy and empathy for real victims to an all-out sprint to be the "victim" ourselves, even if we aren't actually victims of anything. Victims, or at least people who "feel" like victims, are at the top of the food chain. Question them and you're liable to be shamed, fired, protested, etc. They're basically untouchable. And, although I have compassion for actual victims of crimes or deeply hurtful events, I've yet to find any Biblical backing for reveling in victimhood. It's not to be glorified. Job, a "victim" of extreme circumstances, didn't wave his plight in everyone's face, he ultimately humbled himself and repented unto the Lord. His fortunes were then restored many fold.
The groundwork for this adoration for victimhood was begun long ago and it has to do with taking offense, which of course has to do with selfishness and a lack of love. Dan Mohler once defined 'offense' as "justifying withholding love." This perfectly sums up the act of taking offense or being offended. It's this sin that has developed and led us to this moment, where a word such as "truth" is being reformatted before our eyes.
Why Does it Matter?
It matters simply because affirming someone else's truth, if it isn't actually "the truth," is participating in their destruction. You might think this is an extreme, periphery subject that doesn't apply to you, but I guarantee you it's leaking into our schools, homes, and even churches. I've heard it in my own circle of Christian friends. Whether it has to do with gender or sexual confusion, or the obsession with victimhood, if it's not "the truth," or what has been made evident through scripture, Jesus, and/or the activity of the Holy Spirit, it DOES matter. People perish for a lack of knowledge... thus we don't want them to be deprived of the knowledge of Christ.
The Moral of the Story
Truth is finite. It's constant. It's universal. It's absolute. It is NOT determined or varied by your opinion, the sum of your experiences, or your version of reality. We should stop using the phrase "your truth" because it's not really applicable to how we measure what really is true. It's not Biblical, it's not Christ-like, and the Holy Spirit isn't on it.
Culture isn't the guiding light for where we'd like to go, it's the effect of where we've ended up. Culture's function isn't to define truth, righteousness, or what's acceptable, it's simply a thermometer for how well we've defined them as a church, as a nation, and collectively in our hearts. The thermostat is God. It must be God. If it's not God, the temperature won't be conducive for life.
The "your truth" cultural movement is dangerous because it's characteristic of a departure from God's ways. It's certainly not alone or even more perilous than other aberrations to God's design in American culture, but it's telling and it's here, hopefully not to stay. These types of things, if broadly accepted, will eventually lead us in the way of the Israelites... having known the goodness of God, seen His provision, and experienced His promises, but still eventually forgetting, rebelling, and adopting other ways and other 'gods.' SEE PSALM 106
What we need is a spiritual view of things, not a carnal one. We can't settle for what seems right, what's most acceptable, or what's comfortable or popular. To "redefine" the definition of "truth," we've got to go back to what's been true all along.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments... 1ST CORINTHIANS 2:10-15
J.F. D'Orsie - Communications Director - PCC