Truth and Love: Navigating Sticky Situations

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,”  Ephesians 4:15 ESV

All of us are drowning in sin. Whether we are drowning in ten feet of sin or 1,000 feet, we are all in need of a Savior.

The truth is that humans are not basically good or even neutral. We are born drowning in sin, we all are in desperate need of a savior.  Worse yet, we are blind to our helpless situation. It is as if we feel healthy and a doctor explains we have a life-threatening illness. He tells us what we must do to be healed, but we can’t believe we are sick.

What would the doctor do to convince his patients that they are deathly ill? Would he berate his patients, point out all their deficiencies, and then tell them he can cure them? Or would he patiently point out the benefits of the cure?

Too often we speak the truth, but we wield it as a sword unafraid of the damage it may cause as we slice through deception. In the wake of our truth sword we leave anger and condemnation. Our truth cuts deeps leaving life-long wounds that leave those drowning less likely to call out for a Savior.

So how do we speak truth and love? We ask ourselves a few questions before we speak.

Is it true? Am I communicating (my word choice, tone, timing) this truth in love? Is it necessary? What is my goal in communicating this truth?

  • First we must make sure we are speaking truth, check God’s Word, do research, make sure what you are saying is true.
  • Second consider tone, word choice, and timing. Often we can choose to communicate with different words, or in a kinder tone or even at a better time to make sure we are speaking in love.
  • There are many times I have spoken truth, but it was not necessary. It only poured gasoline on an already smoldering fire and left a raw bitter swath in the heart of the person I wanted to encourage.
  • Asking what our goals are in communicating a truth further helps us make sure we are loving as we communicate. Too often my goal is to make myself look good, instead of bringing God glory and lovingly speak truth to those around me.

Father God I want to speak the truth, but often I wield it as a weapon rather than speaking in love. Forgive me for hurting people with the truth rather than bringing You glory and honor. Help me speak the truth in love, give me wisdom about timing and word choice. May the words of my mouth honor You at all times. In Jesus’ Name Amen.