Speaking the Truth in Love Ephesians 4:14-16
The Message (MSG)
14-16 No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.
Something Pastor said in his message this morning really stuck with me. He said “speaking the truth in love is something mature Christians do. Speaking the truth without love is immature, and loving people without truth is immature.”
It’s that second one I have trouble with. I was blessed to grow up in a loving, Christian family. Angry cursing and yelling when there was conflict just wasn’t ever a part of my life. I thought everyone lived that way. In fact, there just wasn’t very much conflict at all. “Say something nice, or don’t say anything at all” was the order of the day. I didn’t feel stifled, “being nice” was what we were all supposed to do.
Looking back, it hindered my ability to argue for a good cause, to speak up when I felt passionate about something, and even now, confounds people close to me. I “flee” when there is conflict. Putting the best construction on everything is a no-brainer for me. I don’t like to argue, even when it’s a “healthy” time to do so. I can literally love and enable the people close to me into making decisions (or no decision at all) or ignoring an important topic to their detriment! Ack! I see that this is wrong, and only have to be reminded of Jesus throwing out the salesmen in the temple in his RIGHTEOUS anger. This was an example of “loving people with truth”.
I think we can all be better about speaking truth to people in a loving way. This is the mature kind of relationship that Christ wants us to have with each other. To “love each other as Christ loves us”, but also speak truth to each other when necessary. However, in order to do this, we first need to listen, really hear where the other person is coming from. As the Message version above says, we need to “take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.” We can call on him through prayer when we are confronted by conflict, or when someone needs to hear truth in their lives.
Father God, please remind me to be “Jesusy” when I’m faced with a friend or loved one who needs to hear your wisdom. Please guard the words that come from my mouth, so that they will be Your words, spoken with the kind of love only you can give us. I thank you for this love and grace that you ask us to share with others. Make me bold to speak Your truth! In Jesus’ name, Amen.