Truth: Does it Blind or Break?

Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken

As long as truth is theory it blinds. As soon as truth becomes real it breaks.

This is something I’ve learned across the years of my life. When I first graduated from seminary, I knew much truth. I could answer nearly every question in some way, often with biblical support. What I could not see was what I did not know. I still can’t, but I’m better at seeing some of my blind spots than I used to be…

Every once in a while in my teaching preparation, I go back to an old file and review previous work on a particular passage. I’ve always been thorough in my work, so I find past study can be helpful. As I read the work I did, I often think to myself, “Huh, that was good stuff. Too bad I didn’t have the slightest idea what I was talking about.” I was accurate enough; I spoke truth and sometimes it was even relevant to life, but I did not know what it meant for me. It was truth, but often it was theory.

Across the years I’ve faced many humbling experiences and I’ve learned a lot about myself. I have seen insecurity in me I had no idea existed. I have discovered pride in places where I thought I was humble (I mistook fear for humility). I have confirmed an insensitivity that I feared was there, and it was. I have struggled with personal ambition and competition and the pain of losing, the shame of rejection, and faced the difficult discovery that I’m not the superior being I thought I was. There are so many who are so far ahead of me that I could never keep up. It’s not even worth the effort.

In many ways truth has become real, though I still have a long way to go, of course. That’s what Paul meant when he said he hadn’t yet arrived. Everybody is on a journey; nobody ever arrives. It’s on the journey that truth becomes real and, when truth becomes real, it breaks us. What else can the cross do but break us?

The cross? What does the cross have to do with it? Oh, the cross is true, of course, but why single out the cross? Because the cross is the center of all truth. It answers all the ultimate questions of life and death and resurrection and the power of sin and why God doesn’t make sense in so much of what He does or allows. To see truth is always humbling; to enter into the reality of truth is always breaking. It breaks our pride, our arrogance, our fear, our drivenness, it breaks everything that is destructive in our lives and, in so doing it brings us into wholeness. People who are proud because of knowledge, don’t yet know truth. They only know facts.

When we’re young, our security comes in knowing the answers, but the real issue is do we know the questions? Life asks us questions we cannot answer. That’s why many of us don’t want to know the questions—we don’t want to face the answers because facing the answers is what breaks us.

From "Truth:  Does it Blind or Break? " on Broken Leadership Blog is about changing the leadership conversation from what we are doing with our hands to what God is doing through our hearts.


Bill Lawrence is the President of Leader Formation International, Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries and Adjunct Professor of DMin Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where he served full-time for twenty-four years (1981-2005). During this time he also was the Executive Director of the Center for Christian Leadership for twelve years.