Are you speaking God's truth out of love for God and love for people…or is your motivation less than loving?
Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
What does it mean to “speak the truth in love?” As a rather outspoken Christian, I find it easy to speak God’s truth… but to do it with love as my motivation and with love as my tone is not so easy. I like the way the Pulpit Commentary puts it:
“Truth is the element in which we are to live, move and have our being… but truth must be inseparably married to love. Good tidings spoken harshly are not good tidings. The discordant spirit of the messenger destroys the charm of the message.”
You may be 100 percent correct in your doctrine, and 100 percent correct in your application, but if its truth that is not spoken in love, then you are just a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Cor. 13:1) and your truthful words will not bear any lasting fruit. Imagine what Jesus was like with the woman at the well in John 4. He totally set her up, exposing her sin, and forcing her to deal with it out in the open. Yet, she responded with joy and urged everybody in her town to come and meet with the same man that had spoken a tough truth into her life.
THAT is a perfect example of speaking the truth in love… and like or not, that is the bar He has set for us. So, the next time you need to speak God’s truth into a situation, take a moment to question your motives and your heart. Are you doing it out of love for God and love for people… or is your motivation less than loving?