Sunday, August 2, 2020

Principles of Being a Truth-Teller

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

In a time of universal deceit—telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

The Lord sent Nathan to David (2 Samuel 12:1).

Throughout my life, God has been faithful to send truth-tellers brave and bold, willing to tell me what I could not see or refused to see on my own. Their words almost always made me angry inside, and often made me defensive, although I never showed it on the outside. But deep in my heart truth hit its mark every time. Before my truth-tellers even finished speaking, I could feel truth’s piercing power, beginning the work of turning my heart inside out, inviting me to be free.

I can trace my freedom journey along those crucial moments of truth, the people courageous enough to confront my disillusionment and sin.

Thank God for truth-tellers.

The Old Testament prophet Nathan was a truth-teller, and his courage changed a king and a kingdom. 

The most general word used for prophet in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word nabi, meaning “to bubble forth, as from a fountain.” Prophets were mouthpieces for God, bubbling forth, as it were, the message given to them by God. 

King David trusted Nathan. He spoke intimately with him and frequently sought his counsel. Nathan was a listener and King David knew he could depend on him.

Early in his relationship with David, Nathan learned the difference between answering with his opinion and giving God’s word on a matter. Shortly after the new king settled in his palace, he looked around in dismay at the finery of his dwelling place in comparison to the tent which housed the ark of God. Should he build a magnificent house for God? Nathan’s counsel to him was to do whatever he had in mind, for the Lord was with him either way. 

That night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, correcting and rebuking the counsel he had given without first consulting the Lord. Who was David or any man to provide a house for the living God? His dwelling was with His people. Duly chastised, Nathan returned to David the next morning, as described in the understatement of 2 Samuel 7:17, Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.

Nathan learned to obey without hesitation, elaboration, or omission.

By the time the Lord sent Nathan to David years later to speak truth about the king’s illicit relationship with Bathsheba, Nathan was a seasoned truth-teller loyal to God and God’s people. 

Christian writers, like Nathan, have a responsibility to steward both the truth and those to whom we speak it. Truth must be stewarded, and so must people. A steward is one who administers or takes care of anything or anyone as the agent of another. Truth-tellers administer truth as agents of the Lord. We take care of our readers in His name. We answer to God, and His standards are holy, his love for people unconditional.

There are several principles we can learn from Nathan about how to tell the truth in a way that honors both God and the people to whom He sends us.

Principles of Being a Truth-Teller

Be Sure You are Sent

2 Samuel 12:1 tells us, “The Lord sent Nathan to David.” In today’s world of fiery issues and loud arguments, we would do well to make sure we are sent to speak before doing so. There have been times I have felt so strongly about an issue I typically avoid that I have had to obey the Lord and write about it. Other times, I have spent hours crafting a treatise full of truth and in the end, I have no peace at all about sharing. So it gets filed away, entrusted to the One who I trust to lead me.

Be sure you are sent. If you don’t have peace about pressing send, wait. Your waiting on God cannot stop His truth from accomplishing its purpose in the world. As Proverbs 25:11 says, Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.

Be Obedient

On the other hand, you may have a message burning in your heart that you haven’t penned yet because you are afraid. Or maybe you are unsure. Or maybe you are a conflict-avoider or think your words can’t make that much difference in the world.

Think for a moment if Nathan had let such feelings stop him. He would not have confronted King David, Solomon would not have been born, we would not have much of the wisdom of Proverbs, the temple would not have been rebuilt… just for starters.

Seek wise counsel if you must and pray for God to give you faith and courage. When the peace comes, press send.

Be obedient, and God may change kings and kingdoms through your obedience.

Tell Stories

I have great admiration and respect for my friends among you who write fiction. It is a great gift, and God frequently uses metaphor, parable, and allegory to pierce the human heart with truth. He can also use true stories, the stories of His work in our lives and others’. 

Stories are one of the most effective ways to share truth. Like a megaphone, they amplify the truth. Tell stories, and trust the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of your readers.

Leave the Outcome to God

After telling a story, Nathan waited patiently for God to work in David’s heart (see 2 Samuel 12:5-6). It was then that the truth hit its mark in David. Nathan understood he was a mere messenger and the work of changing hearts belonged to God alone. 

When Nathan was finished, he went home and left the outcome to God. He had delivered God’s words for David, and he had not once tried to make David respond a certain way. He understood that the work of truth between the Lord and a person is private, powerful, and intimate. Nathan had done his part; he told David the truth.

It is so important that we understand, as Elisabeth Elliot said, “Obedience is our job; Outcome is God’s.” 

Nathan understood this, and he no doubt slept soundly that night even as the king spent the night in fasting and prayer, his life turned upside down by the encounter with the old prophet who dared tell him the truth.

We writers are not old testament prophets. But we have been entrusted with the Word of God, the Bible. We’ve been given the privilege of wordsmithing. As we walk with Jesus, listening to Him, loyal to Him, He will lead us to those who are waiting to hear the truth we have to tell. When we do that, we can leave the outcome of our obedience to Him. In fact, we can wait with joy and anticipation to see the marvelous things He will do.

Lord, make me a wise and courageous truth-teller. Use my obedience to set people free with your Truth. Amen.


Audrey Frank is an author, speaker, and storyteller. The stories she shares are brave and true. They give voice to those whose words are silenced by shame, the hard things in life that don’t make sense, and the losses that leave us wondering if we will survive. Audrey and her family have spent over twenty years living and working among different cultures and world views, and she has found that God’s story of redemption spans every geography and culture. He is the God of Instead, giving honor instead of shame, gladness instead of mourning, hope instead of despair. Although she has three different degrees in communication and intercultural studies, Audrey’s greatest credential is that she is known and loved by the One who made her.

Audrey is the author of Covered Glory: The Face of Honor and Shame in the Muslim World (Harvest House Publishers)an outpouring of Audrey’s heart to introduce others to the God of Instead. Shame is not unique to the developing world, the plight of the women behind veils, young girls trafficked across borders; shame is lurking in hearts everywhere. Through powerful stories from women around the world, Covered Glory illuminates the power of the Gospel to remove shame, giving honor instead. Available at favorite booksellers: Barnes & Noble Books A MillionAmazon.

You can also find Audrey at, as well as on Twitter and Facebook


  1. Audrey, this is a great post. I have been burdened to share truth on a current topic and felt the "not yet" restraint until yesterday. I woke up and the words poured. I think now I am to share.

    1. I appreciate your encouragement, Debbie. How good that you are listening and waiting for the right time. May the Lord bless your obedience!