Speaking the truth in love

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

     I can recall many times after feelings were hurt by ill-considered words hearing the speaker of those hurtful words saying, “Well, it’s the truth, isn’t it?!” To my shame, I can recall times when I was the one who not only spoke hurtful words, but who rationalized them in the same way, “Well, it’s the truth, isn’t it?!” In almost every case—in my memory at least—the speaker was certainly correct. It was truth that was spoken. Yet he did not consider the damage that is done when care is not taken to speak with the right motive and the right heart. She did not weigh carefully enough the potential gain—by “telling it like it is”—versus the potential harm. And, in almost every case, the truth was lost on its intended recipient. Instead, there arose bitterness, disunity, strife, and pain. In short, no one was made better.
     People of God are commanded to do better than does the world. Followers of Christ live under a new standard, a standard that is unattainable except for the fact that the Holy Spirit operates in us to grow us closer to our Namesake. Note that in the text above Paul wrote that through our love-motivated communication with others, we, as the people of God, will “grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” His point is not that loving, caring communication by itself is the way in which we grow into our Lord. There is much more involved in that journey. Yet Paul is convinced that our words and attitudes are a significant part of our growth into Christ. Correction: our growth together into Christ. Learning to speak truthfully AND kindly will not alone lead us deeper into Him. But not doing so will certainly work powerfully against our relationship with Christ and with His body.
     May we always practice kind, loving, truthful expressions in our contact with others—that the world may know.


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