Speak Your Truth or “The Truth”
Does anyone know where the phase “speaking your truth” originated from? In my brief research it appears that the phrase derived from the civil rights phrase, “speak truth to power”.
“The specific phrase “speak truth to power” is credited to Bayard Rustin in 1942. Rustin was a Black Quaker and a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, advocating nonviolent methods in his fight for social justice… Rustin stated that “the primary social function of a religious society is to ‘speak the truth to power.’ The truth is that war is wrong.” (Dictionary.com.). It was used to encourage people to use truth to “oppose perceived acts of oppression by the government” (urbandictionary). Rustin coined this phrase to encourage society to stand up for truth and expose injustices. This phrase can also be true for our personal lives.
Although I can’t confirm for sure, it appears Oprah Winfrey abbreviated “speak truth to power” and coined the phrase “speak your truth”. A few years ago, Oprah explained “speaking your truth” by stating, “If you in any way are keeping a secret or in any way pretending to be something that you are not, you will never ever become all that you were meant to be. It just can not happen if you’re living in some kind of pretense, phony world.” Oprah echoes Rustin’s sentiment by explaining that we cannot hide from our truth. We have to be real with ourselves and speak the truth about who we are. Regardless of what Oprah’s intent was, I agree with this statement because it is a biblical principle. God wants us to be honest about who we are and what our struggles are so he can transform us into Christ. However, people have used this phrase to justify remaining in sinful conditions and lifestyles.
Why Is This Concerning?
I found a current definition explaining that “speaking your truth” means that you stay true to who you are, whether it's your feelings, opinions, or morals. This makes sense given how I am hearing people use this phrase. It is being used to justy sinful lifestyles, uncontrollable habits, ungodly characters, etc. Christians, be careful with this. This belief will cause you to be separated from God’s purpose for your life. God is always going to challenge your truth, especially if it does not line up with His purpose and what he created you to be.
When speaking “your truth” you must be careful not to believe that “your truth” is “the truth”. What do I mean? If your truth (feelings, opinions, morals, etc.) is opposite of who God says you are, and created you to be, then you much renounce it at once.
“...and every bit of pride that keeps anyone from knowing God. We capture people's thoughts and make them obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
The truth is that the Holy Spirit is available to help us overcome anything that stands in the way of us becoming our true identify which is only found in God’s truth. The truth is that it doesn’t mean that it wont be a fight. I mean, did we forget that we are in a spiritual war and that it is going on daily? Thank God that this fight that we have already won!
How Do We Know What Is True?
The problem is that everyone has their own view of what “truth” is. So how can we determine what is true? Knowing Christ is knowing the truth.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth… For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:14, 17
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears,
and he will tell you what is yet to come.
John 16: 13
Therefore, any truth that is revealed must be validated by Jesus who was not only full of grace and truth, but He was truth. Look at John 16:3 again…”He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears”. When we talk about speaking truth we must not speak our own truth but the truth that we hear from God.
Speaking God’s Truth is Freedom
Truth makes you free. It frees you not to be who you think you should be, but it frees you to be who God created you to be. Again, how do you know who God created you to be? You cannot go by how you feel or what your heart tells you (Jeremiah 17:9-10) because they are fickle and will change with the wind. Truth has to be governed by God and His word. If you “feel” something that is contrary to God’s truth, that answer is not to manipulate and find loop holes in God’s Word to make your truth “the truth”. The answer is to seek to understand God’s truth in order to be transformed into that truth. Again I will say, this doesn’t mean it will be easy or without challenges.
So remember as a believer, the goal of speaking your truth is to be transformed into God’s truth because John 8:25-32 says,
“Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
“To Make” something is defined as to “form (something) by putting parts together or combining substances; construct; create.” So God’s truth does not simply set you free. It is much deeper than that! God’s truth has the ability to construct us into a whole new person. God doesn’t take the broken parts of you and put them back together, NO! He is creating new parts of your mind, emotions, desires, etc. He is creating a whole new YOU! THAT IS MINDBLOWING! Do you really want to live in your own truth or let God reconstruct you into someone you never thought could exist?