Live Your Own Truth?
Updated: Mar 19, 2019
Book Commentary on Saving Truth by Abdu Murray
Still trying to live out your own truth? Let's think more clearly about what this means and see if there's a better option...
The effects of the post-truth sub-culture are increasingly being seen, heard and felt at every level of our society today. By now, I'm sure you've heard the emboldened rally cry: "Live your own truth!" Abdu Murray speaks to the burgeoning phenomenon in his book, Saving Truth:
the post-truth virus is so powerful that it can infect all of us: politicians and voters, pastors and philosophers, soccer moms and baseball dads, and yes, even scientists. SavingTruth, #AbduMurray
But what exactly does post-truth or living your own truth even mean? A few other questions that come to mind are: Is there a problem with living this way? Can someone actually live this out consistently in real life. If so, what would that look like?
defining the danger
The Oxford Dictionary elevated post-truth to be its 2016 Word of the Year. I'm sure you can imagine why, when you think back to the political climate at the time. Nevertheless, the textbook definition is this:
Post-Truth | relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. #OxfordDictionary
Let's put this in simpler terms. What this means is that there are growing number of people among us choosing their own feelings over the actual facts. Yes, you're reading this right, we are now living in a culture where it's becoming popular to place your personal preferences above proven palpability.
To #thinkclearly about this for yourself, we'll need to ask some honest questions:
Have you ever been wrong about something you deeply felt was true?
What happens when living your own truth collides with someone else living out their own truth?
The idea of "living your own truth" probably came from someone outside of you (celebrity, author, professor, etc). That being said and if you believe this, aren't you actually living someone else's truth?
Answering these questions honestly should expose how flawed and phony this way of thinking really is.
Truth out of Place
What should be overwhelmingly obvious is that we cannot actually own our own truth. When we attempt to make truth subjective in nature (we decide) rather than it being objective (existing outside of us for our discovery), we immediately begin experiencing how impractical and inconsistent this way of life is.
We become very quickly like the child on the playground who makes up the rules to the game off-the-top of their heads. Choosing whichever rule at the moment is most convenient for them.
By the way, this has already been done before, and it didn't end up well. Listen to this ancient motto that was all the rage at a time in Israel's history:
...all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. Judges 17:6 #NLT
What's important to #knowtruly about this very peculiar little line in Scripture is what preceded it as well as what came soon after in the culture that embraced it. If you ever want to read some really messed up stuff that you probably never knew was in the Bible, read the book of Judges.
For now however, it's helpful to know that Israel, at this time in its history, had (1) lost the last of its original leadership, (2) rejected its laws, (3) ignored God altogether. They just started doing whatever they wanted and what was best for them in the moment. What was right and what was wrong quickly got very muddy and as a result, spiraled out of control at an alarming rate.
Soon after this (you can read chap 19 on your own time), came one of the most horrific and unspeakable accounts in all of Israel's history and in all of Scripture. Results this horrifying are predictably and precisely what will happen when individuals and a nation decide to live their own truth. This ancient and mistaken approach to life is being repeated again in our own modern times. Abdu Murray explains it this way:
Post-truth has now blossomed into a Culture of Confusion. Confusion is embraced as a virtue and clarity shunned as a sin. The answers to life's questions no longer need to correspond to reality. They only need to cater to our desires. ...as our culture has embraced confusion and shunned clarity, have we found ourselves better off? The divisiveness of our rhetoric is corrosive. SavingTruth, #AbduMurray
If living your own truth doesn't work, then what does work? If we are to subscribe to a truth that is outside of us (we all do in some way, as previously mentioned), then it must be a truth that’s worth the journey it takes us on as well as where it leaves us in the end. It must carry ultimate value in itself while also valuing and carrying us. It must be a path that leads to the right place. It must be a lifestyle that is able to be lived out in reality while at the same time calling us higher. It must be personal in nature and relationship-based. Which means it can’t be an “it.” It must be a person. This is who we call “God.” So truth is indeed personal after all, but it’s not subjectified to the whims and convenience of each individual but it's rather objectified in a God who stands outside of us all while calling all of us to Himself.
There’s only one being ever known to have made the claim to fill this criteria and then backed it up. Truth is embodied in the person of Jesus. He even threw down the gauntlet when asked a very similar question as we're asking today. Distinguishing himself from all other religious leaders and backing it up by raising bodily from the dead, he said this:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 #ESV
So why believe a wildly audacious statement like this? I tend to agree with Abdu Murray's reaction to Jesus' claim to being Truth personified when he says,
I've often been asked why I put my trust in Jesus when so many others have claimed to have the answers to life's big questions. My answer is always the same: Jesus rose from the dead, and someone who rises from the dead has credibility. SavingTruth, #AbduMurray
If we are to #livefully in a way that is ultimately meaningful, it must be wrapped up in the ultimate expression of what truth really is. So this Jesus and his teachings, his sacrifice and his offer to you is just as exhilarating to discover as it is to live.
So let's leave this idea of living our own individual truth behind and reach higher by living in light of the truth that God has to offer each of us individually.
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