Truth is quite popular these days. Actually, it isn’t, but we like to think it is. At least the notion of truth based on how we feel, or what we want to believe. That’s popular. It’s just not real. Real truth isn’t popular at all, because real truth often requires me to acknowledge that the way I feel, or see things, or understand the world might be wrong.


You see, as much as we’d like to, we don’t get to define truth. Truth exists on its own, without any need for anyone to believe it in order to keep being true. Truth isn’t about me, or what I think or feel. Truth is truth regardless of me, or you, or anyone else. 

Of course, something doesn’t have to be true for me to keep believing it. That’s free will. You are free to believe anything you want. Just don’t confuse belief with truth.

Sometimes the things we believe are true. Sometimes we believe the truth, but most of the time, we just believe what we believe and we call it “my truth.” Which is also not a thing. There is no “my truth,” or “your truth,” there’s just truth. You don’t get to define truth, you just get to decide what to do with it.

I think what people mean when they say “my truth,” is really “my experience.” It certainly is true (no pun intended), that our experiences inform the way we view the world, but they do not inform the truth.

You see, truth is a real thing, and it happens to matter.

There’s a fundamental law, as unbreakable as gravity, that says this: truth is truth. By the way, about gravity... mankind has defied gravity. We have learned to fly. We’ve sent men to the moon. But gravity is still gravity. It still holds us to this earth, and it requires enormous effort and resources to overcome the reality of gravity. And none of those efforts change gravity. We still can’t do that.

Like gravity, truth does not change because we resist it. It does not stop being true as a result of our efforts to overpower it. It is still truth, and it pulls us back to itself regardless of our attempts otherwise.

Just to be clear, telling someone the truth isn’t malice. It isn’t intolerance. It’s telling the truth. The scriptures are quite clear that we should speak the truth in love. We should always speak it in the context of love, but we should not back away from truth. In fact, we should tell each other the truth even when it’s uncomfortable.

That’s love. Being willing to tell the uncomfortable truth is often the most loving thing you can do, especially when living a falsehood can destroy you. That’s why truth matters, because the lie will ruin you.

And it does. Believing a lie will destroy your soul, and telling someone it’s okay to believe a lie because it’s “their truth” is the cruelest thing we can do. It’s cruel because it ignores the fact that our lives are governed by truth whether we accept it as true or not. It’s cruel because it allows people to justify and rationalize decisions in their lives because of desire, not truth.

By the way, none of this is to say what you should believe. It’s not my job to tell you what you should believe. I will, however, always tell you what I believe to be true. Is it possible that it’s not true? Sure. I don’t have it all figured out, and no one has a monopoly on the truth.

 In fact, all truth is God’s truth.

What’s not possible is that something is true simply because I believe it, or because you believe it, or want it to be true, or feel that it’s true for you.

And we can’t both believe something on opposite sides of reality and call them both truth. I can’t believe something is true, and have you believe it isn’t true, and have both of those things be “truth.” Truth isn’t subject to interpretation.

That’s not how truth works. There’s no such thing as “my truth,” or “your truth.” There is only truth. And truth matters.

”I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  - John 14:6


A few years ago, I was in a strategy meeting for a project I was working on, and the question was asked - which of these two buildings are we building?  I barely remember what the project was about, but I remember the question. It stuck in my mind because it made me think about the way we put together the lives we build.  

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The other day I was reminded of this as I was thinking about how grateful I am that, despite our best efforts to mess things up, God so often holds us up even when we are ready to collapse under the weight of our own brokenness.

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The difference is pretty clear. On the left - the leaning tower of Pisa. It is a beautiful work of art, sure enough, but it's famous for one reason alone - it’s leaning. Or more precisely, it’s falling over. If it wasn't, it would just be some unknown, pretty tower. Sure, through technology, we're slowing down the inevitable, but because of it's poor foundation, it's falling over after just a few hundred years.

On the right, the Pyramid of Giza. For most of modern history, this was the tallest man-made structure on earth.  It has lasted THOUSANDS of years, and has withstood earthquakes. We don't know know exactly who built it, or how, but yet it stands firm. It's foundation is solid - even as it rests in the sand of the desert. 

The Pyramids aren't nearly as sexy as the tower. They are boring. Italian architecture is far more appealing, and "artistic" than the granite monument — which were built mostly as tombs. The tower was built as a work of art.  It is made of marble and took over 177 years to construct. Yes, the tower took 177 years. 

There were several reasons the tower took so long, including even a few wars, but one of them is because from the time they started construction, it began to sink. It was a painstaking labor, yet all that work is in jeopardy because it's foundation is too shallow, and too soft. Today, over 800 tons of lead counterweights are used to stabilize the tower, and the best estimate is that it “should” be stable for about 200 years. 

The Pyramid, in comparison, was built in 20 years. It's foundation goes deep into the desert floor.  It's base is wide, and it's purpose clear - to stand the test of time. To stand against whatever might come against it. It has stood for some 3,000 years, and will likely be there long after any of us are around.

The pyramid was build to last.  Forever.

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Sometimes I think our lives are a lot like a leaning tower. We focus on building something that looks good on the outside, yet our foundation is too shallow. I guess the question is - what are you really trying to build? 

There's a passage of scripture, where Jesus is talking to His followers about people who know what they're supposed to be doing, but don't do. He tells them, "why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do what I tell you?" 

He goes on to describe two different types of people. Both have heard what Jesus has said, but it's their response that matters. It's what they do with it in their life that is really the point here. In Jesus' words:

"As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”     

(Luke 6:47-49)

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So, again, what kind of foundation are you building on? Are you building something that will last?  Is my foundation deep and wide, or is it shallow and soft? As a result, will my life be a blessing to my family for generations to come? What about to those around me? To my church? To the kingdom of God?

For a long time, I had been building a life a lot like that tower. On the outside, at least, things looked good. I had a great facade, and I worked hard to keep it propped up. At the same time, my foundation was shallow, and built on too many things of this world - like pride, fear, selfishness, and shame. I spent a lot of time trying to “prop” up this life, and the results were devastating. I literally spent years of my life trying to “fix the lean,” but I never focused on the foundation.

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If the builders of the Tower of Pisa had paid a few meters attention to the foundation during construction, they could have saved 1,000 years of propping the tower up. Amazingly, the same thing is true for us. A little more attention paid to where we plant the foundation of our lives could save a lot of repair work later - a lot of fixing the lean.  

I speak from personal experience here, and if I can help anyone avoid the pain of trying to rebuild a life on the edge of falling over, then let me encourage you to think about the life you’re building. 

It's easy to deceive ourselves, because just a little lean is barely noticeable at the foundation. The tower of Pisa leans roughly 4 degrees. You wouldn't even know at ground level - but by the time it reaches the top, it's off center by 5 meters.

But let's get real for a minute. Every time we find ourselves absorbed in how many likes or retweets or social media followers we have, we're leaning just a little more. When we base our decisions on what our neighbors or co-workers or people we don't even really know, or like, might think about us, we're leaning.

Every time we trade in our values or our integrity for the thing that makes us "look good" now, we're leaning. When we shade the truth, or leave things out, we're leaning. When we fail to model the type of people we want our children to become, we're leaning. When we lash out in anger, instead of grace, we're leaning. Eventually, we end up leaning so far, we fall over.

As a general rule, when things fall over, they often break.  And when things break, someone often gets hurt. I don’t want my life to be the reason someone gets hurt. Not me, not my kids, not my wife, not anyone.

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I used to be pretty focused on constantly trying to fix the lean, to prop up the facade.  Now, I’m much more interested in building life on a deep and wide foundation.  At times, it may not look as exciting, but there are too many people counting on me to build a life that lasts. 

What do you think? Leave a comment below and let me know what you’re doing to build a life on a foundation that lasts.

This was first posted back in 2010, but I think it's just as relevant today.  I've updated it, and adjusted the focus, but the idea is the same.  It's also been shared in a few other places, but sometimes a reminder is just as helpful as hearing something for the first time!