Speak the truth in love

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow…” (Ephesians 4:15)

The self-righteous wield the truth like a weapon of mass destruction, ambivalent to the the devastating consequences. When confronted, the predictable response follows: “WHAT? All I did was tell the truth?” Their fortress of foolishness is unassailable. Mostly.

Speaking the truth without love ignores the greatest truth: we are called to live in love. Ninety nine times out of a hundred, we cannot help someone grow into the likeness of Christ with a hammer.

God’s work in our own lives reveals a gentleness. He progressively reveals more and more of himself and the darkness in our own hearts. Imagine the devastation if on the first day of your new life in Christ God revealed to you all the things that needed to change in your heart.

I teach my children that to love someone is to want the very best things for them. What if our goal was to help others grow to be more like Jesus (this is the very best thing we could want for someone). This would lead to a mouth that tells beneficial truths in a way that they are most likely to be heard.

You should tell more lies

… there is nothing false about [Jesus]. (John 7:18)

I’ve seen people tell lies–“white” ones too–for the following reasons:

  • To ACCOMPLISH their agendas.
  • To AVERT undesirable, yet deserved, consequences for their actions
  • To AVOID conflict with others.

The first group is far too practical, they will say whatever works in the moment in order to get what they want. Justification is easy when the ends justifies the means. Rationalization is even easier when the final goal is good (for example, carrying on the work of the kingdom). An elder of a church I once said, “telling a white lie is ok if it benefits everyone involved.” I chuckled, with as much gentleness as I could muster (which wasn’t much, given the situation), I said, “that simply isn’t true, there is no teaching in scripture that supports this thinking.” These people know what they want and will say anything to get it.

The second group is far too irresponsible and they love their comfort. Rather than own up to their mistakes, they seek to dodge the consequences they deserve. “It’s only cheating if you get caught” is the mentality.

The final group is far too accommodating and they love their “peace” with others too much. The bitterness and resentment in their hearts keeps them from showing actual grace. Instead, a superficial counterfeit is used instead. It’s easy to keep the peace when we get to keep the war alive in the privacy of our minds.

 

What gets in the way of you telling the truth?

What good comes from telling the TRUTH?

[Jesus] is a man of truth. (John 7:18)

Why should we tell the truth, what good comes from it?

When we tell the truth, we follow Jesus’ example. He is our model, the shape our souls ought to take is his. The spiritual life is about becoming more like Jesus. This means fighting off the powerful temptation to bend the truth, even just bend it a “little.”

When we tell the truth, we keep our integrity. All the money in the world cannot buy back a shattered integrity. Telling the truth keeps our conscience clean and our sleep constant.

When we tell the truth, we earn trust from others. Without trust, true community is impossible. Without trust, influence is shallow. We are not called to live isolated, powerless lives. To connect and live with impact, we must live authentically.

When we tell the truth, we deserve trust from others. In our broken world, appearances are powerful. The force of some personalities naturally gain trust from others The triumph of people skills and charisma is this: like-ability gathers false support. Not only should we earn trust from others, we ought to actually deserve their trust.

We we tell the truth, we help others grow. It’s easy to play it safe and it’s common to avoid conflict. I’m not suggesting we look to start up confrontations every chance we get, but how many people are missing out because we lack the courage to say the tough thing?

When we tell the truth, in situations where we are tempted to cover up our errors, we face the true consequences of our actions. In these painful moments, especially when we choose to face them, we learn powerful lessons.

 

Let us commit to telling the truth, in all things, so that we might become more like Jesus and grow into the person God has designed for us to be.