Speaking the Truth in Love
Read Ephesians 4. Verse 15 says:
“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.”
I have recently been challenged by this scripture as, whilst we all know it and say it, I wonder how many of us truly practise it. The truth on its own can be hard and harsh, even though it is the truth. But, our perception of love on its own can sometimes be misguided because we avoid saying difficult things, mistakenly believing we are acting in love.
The two – truth and love – must go together.
The context of Ephesians 4 is about speaking the truth in love to one another, to help perfect each other and the body of Christ as a whole. It also talks about the relationship we should have with fellow Christians. It is not about beating the non-Christian over the head and pointing out their faults, although I believe it is important to reveal the truth to the non-Christian also. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” and our whole purpose at CV and yesHEis is to introduce people to Jesus, who is the truth.
If we fail to speak the truth in love, we fail our brothers and sisters. I know it is often easier to let things go, but who then is going to help perfect the body of Christ? Of course, we do not want to pick up on every little thing. But, if we recognise a persistent failure or danger to the spiritual life of our brothers and sisters in Christ, it is our duty to lovingly bring it to their attention.
There is another problem here, and that is how the person receives it. While you need to be a big person to speak the truth in love, they need to be a big person to receive it and act upon it without offense. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Here it clearly indicates that kisses (flattery) are tantamount to being an enemy. You should value your friends who are willing to speak difficult things into your life. Of course, your truth will not necessarily be how they see it, as everything is a matter of perspective. There may be reasons you are unaware of that are causing them to act in a certain way. Your reading of the situation might be wrong, but at least this provides the opportunity for that to be clarified.
Lastly, speaking the truth in love is for the body of Christ and it implies speaking to those who are close to you; those with whom you have a relationship. Don’t go attempting this on those with whom you have no relationship, as it will not be perceived as being done in love. If you really feel impressed to do so, then be very sensitive and perhaps even check with a friend beforehand.
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