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Speaking the Truth

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.


What is Truth

Before we can talk about speaking truth, we need to have a working definition of truth.

The correspondence view of truth, held by the vast majority of philosophers and theologians throughout history, holds that any declarative statement is true if and only if it corresponds to or agrees with factual reality, with the way things are.

For example, the statement, “The desk in my study is brown,” is true only if there is, in fact, a brown desk in my study.

Thus, things that appear to be more in line with what we see are more likely to be true.

Being Truthful

The definition of being truthful is:

“telling or disposed to tell the truth”

Truth is the foundation for a fair and just society.  In court, we require witnesses to swear to tell ‘the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’ because only that way can justice be delivered.

If you tell the truth, it becomes a part of your past.  If you lie, it becomes a part of your future.”

– Unknown


Speak the Truth

Before you can speak the truth, you first must know what truth is, and second, you must be disposed to be truthful.

Unfortunately, too many people today feel that speaking the truth is a non-violent political tactic demonstrating the courage to tell someone else what’s what—regardless of who they are and what is what (credits to Wikipedia).

For some, speaking the truth is simply speaking out—regardless of whether it corresponds to reality.

So, for these few, the responsibility in this action does not lie entirely on the speaker but also on the surrounding culture to provide an empathetic, listening audience.  As a result, their truths are often not truths.

Speaking the truth in these situations is essential as long as the truth is the truth.  Some of the reasons to voice the truth are:

  • You intentionally and unintentionally inspire and motivate others, to do likewise,
  • Bring to light existing injustices to others who have the ability to right a wrong.
  • You maintain and strengthen your personal integrity.

Speaking Truth In Business

First, business leaders need to be decisive, tough leaders.

Their job is to make decisions.  And to be able to make the best decisions possible, they need all the input that is available.  They need to be surrounded by staff and advisors who are not afraid to speak the truth.

Second, truth-telling leads to trust.

Both are essential qualities in a healthy, functional workplace.  A boss desires employees who are honest and trustworthy.  In turn, employees benefit from having a transparent and upfront boss when sharing information.  Trust breaks down when there is a disconnect between words and behavior.

Finally, a culture of openness and honesty allows organizations to resolve conflicts constructively that inevitably occur in the workplace.  Honesty is a powerful tool for clearing the air and identifying win-win solutions.

Honesty encourages personal responsibility and accountability for actions and outcomes.  Mistakes are acknowledged and goals set for improving future performance.  Creative problem solving is facilitated when everyone comes to the table with a desire to find solutions instead of pointing fingers and assigning blame.

The Bible

Christians often talk about the need to “speak the truth in love,” a commandment found in Ephesians 4:15.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

Many times, what this means is the need to share brutal truths in a gentle, kind, inoffensive manner.

From a practical standpoint, we know that problematic topics are best heard when our defenses are not up.  In a loving, non-threatening environment, hard truths are more readily received.  So it is biblical to share hard truths with others “in love,” in the manner that the phrase is commonly used.

As mentioned before, the two prerequisites of speaking truth require knowing the truth and voicing them in truthfulness. 

The third requirement is to speak the truth in a compassionate manner that is not degrading but is helpful and understandable.

Business leaders and entrepreneurs must speak truth and hear truth.  Success follows when we know the truth and understand how to deliver truth.