Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Speaking the Truth in Love
What’s that on your face? Emma asked. After a few moments, when it seemed like none of the big people were listening to her, she repeated her question. What’s that on your face? This time she pointed directly at the mole. This thing. What is it? Emma was nothing if not persistent. She would not let it go.
Most of us have been through moments like this. Sometimes, you’re the parent of the too-persistent child. Other times, you’re the one being pointed at and pinned down with questions. Either way, it can be a very uncomfortable situation.
As we grow up, we tend to become more aware of these social blunders. Often adults do their best to avoid them. We think our silence is a mark of maturity. We’d rather be nice than be truthful. But silence can kill. Imagine you’re very sick and in your doctor’s office. In this moment, you want the truth, don’t you? You don’t want someone who knows the truth about you to remain silent.
That is why God sent his Son into the world. Jesus knew the truth about all people. Yet, as Jesus spoke the truth, he always did so in love. He told the crowds to repent. They needed to turn from their sinful ways. When Jesus met with the learned teacher, Nicodemus, he told him the truth that his efforts to be saved would never be enough; he must be born again. When Jesus sat down at Jacob’s well with the Samaritan woman, she came with all kinds of sinful baggage. She had been married five times and was now living in sin with a new man. Most people shy away from such touchy subjects. Not Jesus. He exposed her sin and then revealed that he was her Savior from all sin.
We often think truth clashes with love. But the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ show us something different. Truth and love can be a beautiful combination. The God who is love—the Son who tells us he is the Truth—came into a world desperately in need of both truth and love. It took the truth and the love of God together to save us from sin, death, and the devil.
This is why it is so vital that Christians speak the truth in love. This is real, godly maturity. Christian maturity is not always speaking what’s on your mind in an unfiltered way. Nor is it silently ignoring problems to preserve a friendship. Rather it is recognizing the real threat sin and temptation pose and still speaking the truth to an individual in love. Real love sets aside egos and a desire to be liked to communicate the truth.
At first, it might be uncomfortable. But there is nothing more soothing, nothing more relieving, nothing more loving than telling people the truth that sets them free from the burden of sin, guilt and shame. So speak up, in love.
God, grant me wisdom and the maturity to speak the truth in love—even when it’s hard. Lord, bless me with the humility to listen to the truth when others find the courage to speak with me—even when their love is hard to see. Amen.
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