Do you have the courage to let them speak their truth?

As most of you know, I’m in the midst of my first expat experience, meeting others, sampling the culture, tasting the food, and pondering the lessons that are coming from this experience.

Have you ever considered how much courage it takes to create a family or an organization where people are encouraged to speak and to live their truth?

For the first time ever, I’ve been pondering the wisdom and the courage of the founders of our country when they decided that EVERYONE should be allowed to speak THEIR truth.

Can you imagine creating a country where:

  •  Laws are not mandated by the titled ruler of the land but decided by a group of elected officials?
  • You are allowed to speak your truth about anything?  …Even if it is against the government?
  • You have the right to practice ANY religion you want to?

It sounds chaotic and a little insane – right?

Seriously!  …How do you get people to believe in your truth if they are given choices and allowed to use their brains, and follow their hearts?

What kind of crazy people would create an organization or country like that?

  • Wise leaders that had lived under oppression long enough, that they had no desire to oppress anyone else.
  • Confident leaders that believe in their truth so much that they believe it will be self-evident, even if everyone is allowed to speak their own truth.
  • Innovative leaders that know that when people with diverse backgrounds and experiences come together growth happens!

Think about the people you know that simply can’t listen to anyone else’s truth:  It might be the bully boss, the parent or spouse or teenager that thinks everything has to be their way, it might be the media, the politician, the church leader, the CEO or the leader of the country, or me, or you…

Below are five reasons that WE fear other people’s truth:

  1. Our self-esteem is lacking and WE have an immense need to be right all of the time.
  2. WE haven’t done enough studying on our own to learn how to articulate our truth so it’s easier to plug our ears about someone else’s truth than to engage.
  3. WE know that the truth WE claim is really a lie and WE are afraid of the light.
  4. WE are lazy and know that accepting another truth will cause us more work.
  5. WE simply want to control others.

So – How do you know if YOU are not a part of that WE?

It’s simple:  When was the last time you encouraged someone else to speak their truth to you – even if it is the opposite of your truth?

…If you’ve done it what did you learn?

  • Did you gain understanding about why someone else believes what they believe?
  • Did you begin to see them as people instead of a threat?
  • Did the conversation give you a reason to do some extra research?
  • Did the conversation change your mind or your behavior?
  • Did you earn the right to share your truth too?

When you disagree with someone — don’t dismiss them. Dialogue with them. Exiling them, firing them, dismissing them doesn’t change them — or you.  Ann Voskamp

If you find that you have been a part of that “WE” check out the list below from John Maxwell.  It is full of reasons to consider changing your behavior…

Insecure Leaders share several common traits:

  1. They don’t provide security for others.
  2. They take more than they give.
  3. They continually limit their best people.
  4. They continually limit their organization’s success.
  5. They spend more energy trying to keep their job than doing their job.

Courage and Truth iStock_000011184476XSmallWill you choose to be a courageous leader this year and encourage others to speak their truth?

Additional posts that will enhance this topic:




President, Giana Consulting

Chery Gegelman is an adventurer that loves to learn. ...Deep conversations, books, travel, and daily living are all food for growth.

As a speaker, facilitator and workshop leader she creates energizing environments that reflect God's grace, tear down walls, help people to consider new perspectives, and inspire change.

Chery is the Founder of Giana Consulting and Conversation Safari's, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

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8 thoughts on “Do you have the courage to let them speak their truth?

  1. I’d say on #1 – we have TOO MUCH self esteem. We esteem ourselves far above others and don’t want to think that we may be wrong. Maybe it’s a turn of a phrase, but I think it matters. Humility (right humility) is one of the doors that opens up life to us. I find it’s been a great benefit to me to learn to stop focusing on “self esteem” and start focusing on “God’s glory through me.” It makes a huge difference. Thanks for the post.

    • Carey – Ohhh great point! I do believe that many titled leaders don’t have any self-esteem So I don’t think I’d delete #1. However, you make an important point that should be added to this list! You make me think of Chris Sligh’s song, Empty Me. That is a constant prayer for me!

  2. There is so much truth in what you posted you would think there is no one in a country of free speech that would disagree; however the latest A&E fiasco, no matter what side of the argument you are on, clearly shows a lack of respect for free speech. Like wise any negative comment on a minority is now automatically classified as bigotry and not the right of free speech, again no matter how offensive one may find it. When we lose the right to speak our truths we lose the most valuable freedom of all, and all else will be lost soon there after. Thanks +Chery Gegelman

    • Jeffrey, It interesting that you bring the A & E thing up. This post had been burning in my heart for weeks. …Because of where we are living and the conversations I’ve been in. I had the rough draft written and was in the polishing stage when all of that hit. (I took it as a sign that it was time to publish!)

      …If you haven’t yet – please check out the link at the bottom of the post titled “How To End The Blame Game, A Dream For Change.” I wrote that post last spring and had been thinking about that topic for years prior. Each time this subject comes up, I look at where I have been. (Really judgmental.) And where I want to be. (The questions at the bottom of that post paint a beautiful picture of that vision.)

      Each time I come away happy that I’m making progress and convicted that I still have a lot of work to do within myself. I hope this encourages others to do the same!

    • Thank you Jesse! I know you and I share a similar vision of what could be… It is wonderful to hear from you! Big hugs to you and warm wishes for your New Year too!

  3. I recently served as the associate pastor at a church that was doing street ministry, similar to what I am doing now but there came a point that I was released from that position, because the lead pastor saw a note I had written on Facebook, explaining why I hold to a view on the doctrine of Original Sin that is pretty much identical to that of the Eastern Orthodox church, rather than the view that is typically held by churches in the west. He felt that because my views on this subject were not in line with his, that I was no longer fit to serve as a leader in that church. To make a long story short, that church, since my departure is less involved with street ministry and so I took the calling I believe I have and started the ministry I now serve, but the reason I tell you all this, is because part of what we do is hold a service for the people we minister to on Friday nights and we get people from many different backgrounds, including Catholic, Lutheran, other protestant, Hyper-Dispensationalist, Seventh Day Adventist, and even those with no church background. I made a very conscience decision to allow free discussion among these people about their various views, not condemning any and not telling any they can’t be part of us because their views are not in line with mine or anyone else’s. We study the Bible together and we discuss things and when they ask me, I tell them what I believe about a thing and we can discuss the differences, but I am very careful not to dismiss anyone because of their view. Without a doubt there are certain core fundamentals of the faith that we all agree on, but I believe the potential is there for us to all learn things from each other, or at the very least, become more tolerant of views that differ from our own.

    • Mike this is a great example.

      I agree that leaders have to be in alighment on core values to work well together.

      At the same time, leaders have an opportunity to model that they can deeply value and appreciate each other and still disagree on particular topics. When leaders do that well their teams (or congregation) learn to engage with each other with care and compassion even when they disagree.

      I love your approach with your street ministry. You model this part of the post… “Confident leaders that believe in their truth so much that they believe it will be self-evident, even if everyone is allowed to speak their own truth.” And by doing so, you challenge the people there to dig deeper into their beliefs, and to engage in further discussion.

      You might enjoy this post as well:
      It highlights this dream…
      What if:
      We would sit down at a table surrounded by diverse people and really listen.
      We allowed others to share their stories and convictions unapologetically and with passion.
      We left those conversations and examined our own hearts and motives.
      We dived into world history to learn from the past.
      We came back to the table to share what we’ve learned, deeply desiring to better understand.
      We would sit at that table and intentionally look fear (and some squiggly things) in the face and begin to turn each one of those rocks over.