BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#1069 - "Truth be Told" by Matthew West
NRT's Kevin Davis talks to the veteran artist about the inspiration behind his recent heartfelt single
 


BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #1069 -
Posted: May 12, 2021 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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Have you ever believed the lie that you had to be perfect before you came to Christ? That you needed to have it all together? Unfortunately, this lie keeps you away from the cross, not coming to it.
 
You also might believe an even more potent lie: I should keep my messes, my wounds, and my secrets to myself. Unfortunately, this also keeps us—believers and non-believers—away from God. In his latest single, “Truth Be Told,” contemporary Christian artist Matthew West blows both lies out of the water.
 
In the song, Matthew emphasizes that honesty, not secrecy, can heal wounds. He compares the church to a hospital: “A safe place for the sick and the sinner and sick and the scarred and the prodigal.” “Truth Be Told,” featured on Matthew’s latest worshipful project Brand New, is great for those running from God or others because of hurt.
 
Including the aforementioned hit, the very relatable and transparent words of the songs on Matthew’s latest album perfectly depict our daily walks as believers. Like Matthew’s previous albums, these songs are all filled with spiritual truth. The hope of the Gospel is heard loud and clear. I had the chance to speak with Matthew about “Truth be Told.”

 
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
 
I wrote “Truth Be Told” because I don’t want to be a professional Christian anymore. I want to be the first person who says, “You know what? I’ve got some messes and I’m going to dare to believe that there’s a God who loves me anyway. And I’m going to dare to believe that there’s some other Christians who would love me anyway—even if they knew that I was less than perfect.” 
 
So, I’m putting it out there, truth be told, and I hope you will, too. Be honest, be vulnerable. And, trust that the Lord is never going to leave your side. 
 
It’s never lost on me when a dad shares that his kids are listening to my music. It always makes me smile to think about a young person being drawn to the truth of a song. From a parent’s perspective, that’s a win. 
 
You mentioned “safe place,” a phrase you used to describe my song. My hope is that this song reminds people that there’s no safer place than in the arms of a savior who loves us no matter what. 
 
The Bible tells us that God sees everything, and nothing is hidden from Him. That can cause fear in people. But rather than letting it cause fear, be reassured that there’s no safer place than the presence of God who sees the good, the bad, and the brokenness. And even after He sees all this ugliness, He still loves you. You can stand in His presence unashamed.
 
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
 
Isaiah 29:13 (NIV): The Lord says: “These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship of Me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”
 
James 5:16 (NASB): "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you A prayer of a righteous person, when it is brought about, can accomplish much.”

John 8:12 (NKJV): "Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, 'I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'"

2 Corinthians 4:6 (NKJV): "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
 
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV): "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

2 Corinthians 5:16-19 (NIV): "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here. All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation."
 
Galatians 2:19 (MSG): “What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So, I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”
 
What is the takeaway message?
 
“Truth Be Told” is my honest attempt to be, well, honest. Authenticity is easier said than lived. I think deep down we all like the idea of showing who we really are, warts and all, to the world. But allowing others to see our rough-around-the-edges traits is scary.
 
What will people think? How will they judge me when they know I’m anything but perfect? What’s crazy is the truth is already told when it comes to God. Hebrews 4:13 says nothing in our lives is hidden from Him. To understand that there’s a God who sees every secret sin, every struggle, every thought, every mistake, and loves you still—that is a freedom like no other.
 
One of the vivid images that comes to mind is in John 8:1-11, the story of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. The Pharisees brought her out into the street to condemn her, and point fingers at her. And not in a way to find freedom, but to shun her and trap Jesus, ultimately. 
 
The way Jesus handles her is inspiring. Instead of pointing His finger at her, He writes something in the dirt in a way that someone hanging their head in shame can see. Christians sometimes act like Pharisees. And, rather than show grace and mercy, they focus on the speck in someone else’s eye rather than the plank in their own eye, as quoted in Matthew 7:3.
 
We’re more tempted to write people off rather than give them a second chance. All I know is I want to be more like Jesus in every aspect of my life. 
 
If this song’s message of honesty and authenticity helps provide a safe place for people who feel like they need to pretend they’re okay when they’re not, then I would consider it to be impactful music. Thus, as a songwriter, I would be eternally grateful to hear that.
 
Lyrics
 
Lie number one
You're supposed to have it all together

And when they ask how you're doing
Just smile and tell them never better
Lie number two
Everybody's life is perfect except yours
So keep your messes and your wounds
And your secrets safe with you
Behind closed doors
 
But truth be told
The truth is rarely told
 
I say I'm fine, yeah, I'm fine
Oh, I'm fine, hey, I'm fine
But I'm not, I'm broken
And when it's out of control
I say it's under control
But it's not and You know it
 
I don't know why
It's so hard to admit it
When being honest
Is the only way to fix it
There's no failure, no fall
There's no sin You don't already know
So let the truth be told
 
There's a sign on the door
Says, come as you are
But I doubt it
'Cause if we lived like that was true
Every Sunday morning pew would be crowded
But didn't You say church
Should look more like a hospital
A safe place for the sick
The sinner and the scarred
And the prodigals like me
 
But truth be told
The truth is rarely told
Oh, am I the only one who says
 
I say I'm fine, yeah, I'm fine
Oh, I'm fine, hey, I'm fine
But I'm not, I'm broken
And when it's out of control
I say it's under control
But it's not and You know it
 
I don't know why
It's so hard to admit it
When being honest
Is the only way to fix it
There's no failure, no fall
There's no sin You don't already know
So let the truth be told
 
Can I really stand here unashamed
Knowing that Your love for me won't change
Oh God, if that's really true
Then let the truth be told
 
I say I'm fine, yeah, I'm fine
Oh, I'm fine, hey, I'm fine
But I'm not, I'm broken
And when it's out of control
I say it's under control
But it's not and You know it
 
I don't know why
It's so hard to admit it
When being honest
Is the only way to fix it
There's no failure, no fall
There's no sin You don't already know
 
I know there's no failure
No fall, there's no sin

You don't already know
So let the truth be told
 
Closing Thoughts
 
I’ve reviewed Matthew’s music since I began my Behind the Song devotional ministry in 2008. His smash hit, "The Motions," was song #41 in the series, which perfectly aligns with Matthew's music ministry, past and present. “Truth Be Told” is our tenth song discussion together. And, together, we continue to talk about the stories and scripture connected to his songs of faith.  
 
I've previously spoken with Matthew about "My Own Little World," "Strong Enough," "Forgiveness," "Do Something," "Day One," “Grace Wins,” "Broken Things," and “Becoming Me” for devotionals.
 
Each tracks displays the musical and lyrical excellence and intentionality of Matthew West as an artist. These songs have catchy melodies and biblically-based lyrics reflecting unashamed faith.
 
Right from the opening notes you'll be captivated by “Truth Be Told.” The strong message, “Lie number one/You're supposed to have it all together/And when they ask how you're doing/Just smile and tell them never better” invites you into the biblical truth spoken in James 5:16: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” Don’t pretend that “you’re fine.” Lean on others to to help you heal accordingly. True healing comes from true community.
 
I get swept up in the profession of "Truth be Told," which reflects the cry of my heart. Even when you’re saved, you might beat yourself up about failure. You might feel unworthy of God's love. That's the point: you aren't worthy. You can't earn grace. It's a gift of unmerited favor from God to His children. 
 
Romans 5:8 tells us, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Despite your sins, God still thinks of us as His child: sons and daughters. This includes you if you’ve accepted Jesus as your substitute and savior.
 
This song celebrates the freedom we're promised in God's Holy Word. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 
 
Christians are new creations on the inside. The Holy Spirit has given you new life. You no longer must live with guilt, fears, or worries. You're born again. This song has that very important message: there is always hope. Breathe it in like oxygen, and God's hope will turn whatever you're going through into something different for His glory.
 
Jesus wants to give you Himself, so you can bask in His light of life and not walk in darkness. Before God created man, He created light. God sent Jesus so that you could have a light return. This is your story and challenge: to think about how you're reflecting the light of Jesus and how you're spending your time before you die.
 
God desperately wants to fill you with His light and His mercy to make you new. The Lord's glory, His strength, is found in your weakness. This song celebrates that truth.
 
Worship is a heart condition, an emotional connection to the words that we lift to God. Our worship is an offering. God is the one who made the way for you to be with Him. 
 
God wants to hear from you. He wants you to boldly approach the throne of mercy and grace to receive what you need from Him. You were dead in our sins and, by grace, you were saved and made alive in Christ. 
 
Again, don’t hide your weaknesses. In fact, because of your weaknesses, God's grace and strength are perfectly revealed. Join in and sing loudly: “I know there's no failure/No fall, there's no sin/You don't already know/So let the truth be told.” Amen to that.

NRT lead contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector, and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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