Day 23: Speaking the Truth in Love
“But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” Ephesians 4:15
Love isn’t always about saying things that are encouraging or easy to hear. Speaking the truth sometimes involves speaking it to someone who may not want to hear it, or speaking something that seems harsh. (Parents, you can dig it. We love 'em, but love also means we have to correct them, at times! [Proverbs 3:12]) But, speaking the truth must always be done in love. There is to be no telling someone what you think just because you think they need to hear it. We need to be very careful to follow the Holy Spirit and not sail off on our own. This will keep us from creating an even bigger mess.
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29
Speaking the truth in love is to be done for someone’s edification—to build them up. God will never direct you to speak to someone in a way that tears them down or belittles them.
Sometimes it is a very fine line between corrupt speech and edifying speech. Jesus often had not-so-nice things to say to the religious leaders of His day. He called them a “brood of vipers” (Matthew 23:33) and “whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23:27). He even said they were of their father, the devil (John 8:44)! That’s all pretty harsh, isn’t it? But yet, Jesus didn’t sin once when He was here on the earth, so we know that He didn’t step out of line when He said those things (Hebrews 4:15, 2 Corinthians5:21).
What you didn’t find Jesus doing was telling them that God hates them. So, please know that God will not direct you to tell anyone that. God loves people. He doesn’t like the sin they get entangled in, but it is His will for them to get out of all that mess and get into His Kingdom. This is why it’s so important for us to be led by the Spirit. God knows exactly what to say, when to say it, and how to say it, to give any person what they need to hear at that point in their life.
We are told throughout the Scriptures to exhort one another. So if you feel that the Lord is prompting you at times to speak something, but you think it’s too hard, please don’t ignore it just because of that. You check with the Holy Spirit about it, and you speak it when you get the go ahead! Your obedience may be what the Lord uses to deliver that person from disaster.
Now, if a brother or sister says something to you that stings a bit, don’t get offended. It may very well be that the Lord led them to say that to you. Check with Him on it. Be quick to repent if you find it was Him, and make sure to thank the person who helped you when the time is right to do so. Just because something doesn’t make us feel good right away doesn’t mean it wasn’t the Lord.
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:12-13