Truth and Love
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” – Ephesians 4:15
Have you ever had to tell someone something you knew they wouldn’t want to hear?
As a pastor, there are times I have to speak a word of truth to someone who really doesn’t want to hear it. I shouldn’t really say, “As a pastor,” because this is really something we all deal with.
The temptation is to ignore the truth, just keep it tucked away so the other person won’t have to deal with the uncomfortable or even painful effects of the truth.
Is it loving to withhold the truth?
On the other hand, there are times we feel like we absolutely have to tell someone the “cold, hard truth” no matter what and we just hit them over the head with it.
I remember a guy who would show up on campus from time to time during my college days. He would confront anyone and everyone and attack them with God’s Law. He didn’t care if the person was a Christian or not or if they were sorry for their sin, he just kept beating people with the law.
Is it loving to beat someone up with the truth?
Ephesians 4:15 gives us some guidance. Yes, we should speak the truth, but do so with gentleness. Our goal is not to hurt people with the truth. Our goal is to help them grow up in every way into Christ.
- When we have to confront with sin, we do so gently with the intent of leading to repentance and reconciliation.
- When we have to inform someone of something unpleasant, we do so gently and in love.
Two Things to Keep in Mind
- Truth vs Opinion – Sometimes we confuse truth with our own opinion. There is a difference. If your dealing with God’s Law, make sure it really is God’s Law, not your law or your interpretation. If it’s something like, “that outfit looks terrible”, consider carefully whether it’s something that really needs to be said or just your opinion.
- Mind Your Own Business – Sometimes there is a truth you become aware of, but it really isn’t your business and you don’t need to insert yourself into the situation. There are times when it’s appropriate for the person’s good to address something but consider carefully if it’s really your place to address the truth.
You are truth and the truth will set us free. Teach us Your truth. Help me to be humble enough to hear the truth from others, even when it’s hard. Help me to be able to speak the truth to others in gentleness and love for their good and to know when I should hold my tongue.
In Christ’s Service,