I wonder if over the past few weeks God has provided as many opportunities for you to “speak the truth in love” as He has me? Whew! Maybe I should start blogging about the weather, instead . . .
But seriously, it’s been good— no really — for isn’t it just like our faithful God to lead us into particular spiritual territory right when we need it?
On my end, sometimes it’s gone pretty well. (Big sigh of relief.) And other times, well . . . Take the conversation I had this week with my husband who was frustrated over an ongoing issue: “It’s good that you’re thankful,” I said, “but God wants more than your gratitude. Way more.” His silence on the other end of the line told me how well THAT went over. Was it my timing, my tone . . . ?
Sigh. I have a lot to learn. How about you?
Alright, Lord, how do we speak the truth in love?
- In humility – When we present ourselves as fellow students of the ropes of faith, we share the truth with humility. (Galatians 6:1) That means humble attitudes and words, such as, “It seems like you . . . is that correct or have I misunderstood . . . ? I struggle too . . . ” Allow room for a possible misunderstanding on your part and provide them the opportunity to clarify their position. They may not have realized how they came across or we may not have the facts straight.
- In Gentleness – When we present ourselves as a brother or sister who truly cares about them, we share the truth with gentleness. (II Thessalonians 3:15) That means gracious attitudes and words, such as,“Your viewpoint is interesting. What does Scripture say about it?” Or, “I’m sorry you feel that way. God wants the best for you! In Scripture, God promises . . . ” Or maybe, “Is there any way I can help?”
- In faith – When we present the truth in faith, we leave the results up to God. (Isaiah 55:11) It’s the Spirit’s work to reveal the truth, our job is simply to be faithful to share it.
- In a spirit of peace – When we remember that the goal of speaking the truth in love is to build, not destroy, we won’t be drawn into a struggle over who’s “right.” There’s a time for everything, including a time to step back, let it go, and allow God to finish the task.
After all, God’s truth is meant not just to be shared, but to be received, ingested, and applied. That means that when I’ve shared the truth with someone, I will grant them the same grace I’d appreciate; the time to process what’s been said.
And that takes time. Maybe even a lot of it.
Now, let’s faithfully do our part and speak the truth in love. Then we can step aside, pray, and give God a chance to work!
What about you? What is the hardest part of sharing the truth for you?