The phrase live your truth is used as an affirming encouragement for people to accept and openly express themselves authentically. It follows the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” (Essays). According to the University of Kentucky’s magazine, The Odyssey, living your truth and being yourself is a four-step process: 1) Accept who you are currently; 2) Realize your worth; 3) Learn your own personal truth; and 4) Live your truth (www.theodysseyonline.com/what-means-live-your-truth, accessed 2/28/2023).
The overall message of live your truth is to not let society’s norms and expectations influence and overwhelm you. You should remain steadfast in who you are and treasure what you have. The message is a noble one on the surface; of course, we should resist negative peer pressure and be steady in ourselves. However, as commonly applied, live your truth largely ignores the teachings of the Bible.
For one thing, live your truth implies that each person has his or her own truth deep within that must be discovered and lived out. One person’s truth may differ from another’s. This is not what the Bible teaches; there is just one truth. John 17:17 says God’s Word is truth, and Jesus asserts that He Himself is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). The beginning of John’s Gospel teaches that Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1:14). Thus, there is not your truth or my truth; there is just the truth—the Word, the person of Jesus.
Those who tout the live your truth mindset generally urge you to accept yourself, sins and all—although sin is not usually a word they use. The idea is that you are who you are, and you can’t help it. So, you should not succumb to societal pressure to be something else. This mentality can excuse many sins and character flaws as innate and inescapable. If a woman wants to express herself in shockingly immodest clothing styles, she should live her truth and embrace that as part of who she is. If a man feels like venting his spleen with a string of obscenities, he should live his truth and let the words fly. To live your truth is to live guilt-free while doing what brings you happiness, not letting anyone influence the authentic self. A woman who feels that she is actually a man needs to live her truth and become a man, and no one can tell her that the feeling is not real because it is her truth.
But truth is not subjective. It is not dependent on what is known, felt, or experienced by any particular person. It is not malleable, and it cannot be molded and shaped into a personalized form to suit us. People who speak of “my truth” and “your truth” are more accurately referencing “my opinion” and “your opinion.” Truth can have different interpretations, and people can see truth from different perspectives, but there remains only one truth.
Believers in Jesus Christ, who is the Truth, should weigh the concept of live your truth carefully. They should stand firm in their Christian convictions and identity, resisting the world’s influence, remembering that their identity is found in Christ (Galatians 2:20). Our worth comes from God, who created us and who is at work to conform us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). Live in God’s truth is a more biblical mantra than live your truth.