The TRUTH model is a practical way for you to break down your day-to-day life into five important parts:

T: Trigger Events-external events/situations that trigger a response in you

R: Ruined Thoughts-faulty/unbiblical views (lies) you filter those events through

U: Unhealthy Response-unhealthy emotional/behavioral response toward the event

T: Truthful Thoughts-accurate/biblical view of the situation

H: Healthy Response-healthier emotional/behavioral response to the event

The first T of the model, ”trigger events,” refers to the situations you encounter each day that set you off like someone cutting you off in traffic, your boss criticizing you in front of coworkers, a spouse not giving you much time or attention, or, your children not obeying you. The focus here is on the things that are upsetting, hurtful, and even traumatic.

T= Events that negatively trigger me.


R, “ruined thoughts,” refers to how you wrongly perceive, interpret, and assess the things that happen to you.

R= Ruined Thoughts/Lies I Filter Trigger Events Through.


The U, “unhealthy response,” refers to how you react in a “dysregulated” way to the event that took place. Scripture would refer to U as where you respond to aversive events out of the reactions to the things people do or that life throws your way.

U= Unhealthy Ways I Respond to the Events That Trigger Me.


The second T in the model, “truthful thoughts,” refers to what you are supposed to filter trigger events through.

T= Truths I Need to Filter Trigger Events Through.


Finally, the H, “healthy response,” refers to the way you are meant to respond to the trigger events you encounter. Consider how you would respond to upsetting or disturbing situations if you filtered them through the truth.

H= Healthy Ways I Can Respond to Trigger Events.


Try keeping a TRUTH Journal. You may not be a big fan of journaling, but if you journal using the TRUTH method you will find that you will make noticeable gains not only in your ability to think more biblically but also in handling life in an emotionally and behaviorally healthier manner.

Do so in the following order:

  • In the U column, write down what you felt emotionally and the behavior that went along with your feelings.
  • In the first T column, write down what triggered your response.
  • In the R column, write down the “ruined” (faulty, erroneous, irrational, unbiblical, distorted, inaccurate) thoughts that went through your mind.
  • In the second T column, write down what your thoughts would have been if they were true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.
  • In the H column, write down if there were any noticeable changes in your emotional and behavioral reactions to the event, given the right thoughts you ran through your mind.

Just a quick reminder: always start with U and write down what you felt and how you acted, go to the first T and fill in what triggered you, go to R and write down your faulty thoughts, go to the second T and fill in the right thoughts about the situation, and finish by filling in H with any changes-no matter how small-in your feelings and actions toward the event.

Here is an example of what these look like in our lives…

Trigger Event Ruined Thoughts Unhealthy Response Truthful Thoughts Healthy Response
Lost my car keys and missed an important meeting at work. I’m such an idiot. Why do I always do stupid things like this! Why can’t I every get my act together! Got angry and threw my phone across the room. I’m not an idiot. I don’t do this kind of thing very often, I need to cut myself some slack for being human. Felt less angry, picked up my phone, and called my boss to let her know I was going to be late.
Teenage son talked down to me in front of his girlfriend and a couple of his friends. I deserve to be treated better than that. He owes me an apology! Felt bitter and said, “I’ll be glad when you to off to college!” It’s not okay for my son to talk to me like that, but it’s not okay for me to talk to him that way either. Calmed down, apologized to my son, asked him to forgive me, and suggested that we both keep trying to talk to each other respectfully.
Friend forgot we were supposed to have lunch today. I can’t depend on him-I’ve got nothing but losers for friends! Felt angry and left him a snarky voicemail. He makes mistakes like everyone else. He’s a good friend, and I’m thankful he’s my friend. Felt less angry, called back to say I was sorry for the snarky voicemail, and rescheduled our  lunch.


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