Speak The Truth In Love
I was making a big change in my life. I had felt God's tugging for a couple of years but especially in that last nine months! There had been much prayer behind my decision. I got a phone call from someone, who this change affected, and they were upset. They wanted to talk and change my mind. I knew I was doing what God wanted. I called my new pastor and asked for prayer. I told him I wanted to be truthful. His words stuck with me when he told me to "speak the truth in love." We prayed together that I would be able to be truthful but be able to say it with love. That is not always easy but God did it.
I don't like to hear that a Christian has spoken the truth in a harsh, judgmental way to someone but I know I have. That gives Christians a bad name and reputation and a nonbeliever will want nothing to do with Christianity. I do believe the truth is to be shared but not to put someone down. We are told by the Apostle Paul to do it with love. Ephesians 4: 15, "...but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.." Paul says the way to mature in our faith is to ‘speak the truth in love’.
We can be so fearful of hurting someone’s feelings that we never confront wrong behavior or tell people when they’ve made a mistake. There are times that difficult conversations have to be had, but they must be said in a loving way and God's guidance. The Holy Spirit, when asked, will give us the right words that are gentle, kind and not offensive.
In the earlier verses, Paul writes about unity in the body of Christ. In Ephesians 4: 1, he urges them to live a life worthy of the calling they have received. "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called..." This is a life of humility, gentleness and patience. This is a life of loving one another and trying to promote unity. Not something we see much these days!
This love that Scripture speaks of is agape love. Christian love. A self sacrificing love. When we speak truth in love we build others up. As Paul writes in Ephesians 4: 29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Because we love one another we must speak the truth. Because we know the truth, we must do it with love!