Speaking the Truth in Love
As the saying goes “the truth hurts”. So speaking the truth in love is very important. We often times are given the opportunity to do it, yet we either don’t speak or don’t do it in love. The following is a testimony from my wife of a resent example.
For some people this is as easy as breathing, for me it is as impossible as “David slaying Goliath.” We have previously “shared” that I am a people pleaser, so speaking the truth, may not please everyone, so I never get to the 2nd part “in love, because I am already afraid of the 1st part, “speaking the truth.”
However, whenever I have been able to muster up the strength to say the truth, I have always had the most “freeing” sensation. For most of my life, my original family, Mom, Dad, brothers, we never spoke “the truth.” So it was “familiar” in my 1st marriage not to speak the truth, which happens so much of the time.
Friday, I had an old friend call for advice. She was in a relationship but she was not happy about “how it was going” but really she was unhappy about “how it was not going.”
My friend, has been married a 4 times, and been in relationships in between. She is sweet, and beautiful and giving, and accomplished except in relationships.
Ok. She is in a relationship with a guy for a year, and now she is thinking this is not working out. She complains, “He doesn’t give, he only takes. He is only concerned about his own world, and never asks me about what is happening in my world.” And this time, before starting another relationship, I just prayed and prayed, “God I am not going to do anything, because I want it to be your will.”
So speaking the “Truth in love” I told her that if she was in a sexual relationship with him that she was not doing God’s will, because that is fornication. And God hates fornication.
She told me that “this conversation has just ended.” I am not sure if that was “tongue in cheek” or if she was truly offended. However, I told her that I loved her but when you don’t do it the way God says to do it, it turns into a mess. That my guess is that the fact that he does not want to commit to marriage is making you very insecure about “Does he really love me?” And because of that, she was finding things that he does that annoy her. But the truth is, it was what he was not doing, “Asking her to get married” that was the real problem.
I hate confrontation, and I would rather just fold up my tent and leave than tell someone they are out of line. I know it is “fear of rejection.” But it really keeps me chained up. But here is what I tell myself, because I have to tell myself the truth, in love. I do not want to confront this situation, but I don’t want this, whatever “this” is, to continue. So I tell my weak-kneed self, to “suck it up and face it.”
A major turning point for me in this area was dealing in a group situation, many years ago. I was appointed the head of the group, but one of the other members was a Rottweiler. (a person who will take charge any second, you don’t want to be in charge). I didn’t want to offend anyone, and I did not want to hurt her feelings, so I was afraid to be in charge, because that might hurt her feelings, and hence I was miserable. Yes, I prayed about this situation. A lot! And those prayers were unanswered, because I was not praying the truth. My prayer was, “Please Lord, change her.” What my prayer should have been is “Please Lord change me, and help me to address this situation.” I remember that day when I told myself, “suck it up and address it.” Really the results were AMAZING! No, she did not change. I changed! I found out you really can do this and the “sun will come up tomorrow! Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow—there’ll be sun!” I was so afraid that something terrible happened if you spoke the truth.
When you speak the truth, in love, what happens after that, is really not up to you, it is up to them. Some people receive truth, and thank you. Some people do not receive truth, and hate you. Some people don’t even hear you. This testimony is to help you, not them.
Three Areas to “Speak the Truth in love”:
First, to Yourself [Neh.5:7] Consult with yourself
- Many of us are great at deceiving ourselves [James 1:22] [1 Jn.1:8]
- Consult with yourself about who you really are, not who you portray to others
- Consult with yourself about what you are doing, right now, is it what God expects?
- Consult with yourself about where you are going, what is your future?
Second, to God [Acts 9:1-6] Paul had a “come to Jesus meeting”
- We all need to speak the truth with a God that loves us and knows us
- [1 Jn.1:9] Be truthful about your sin and righteousness
- [Prov.3:5-6] Be truthful about your trust and faith in God
- [Rom. 12:1-2] Be truthful about your submission to the Lord
Then to Others [Luke 6:41-42] Don’t be a hypocrite!
- Long before you attempt to speak the truth in love to someone else, you must complete the items above. You have a beam in your eye and You must remove it first.