Are You Really Speaking the Truth in Love?
“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.” (Ephesians 4:15, NLT)
Christians often use the truth as a weapon. But the Bible never says God wants you to use the truth as a club. He doesn't want you to beat people up theologically, politically, or personally. You must use the truth tactfully -- in other words, use truth in love.
“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” (Ephesians 4:15 NLT).
Think of somebody that you would like to help make a change. You need to realize people change faster and more easily when the truth is wrapped in love. Without love, truth is always seen as an attack. If you say something offensively, guess what? It's going to be received defensively. You’re never going to get anywhere!
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (NIV).
If it's not helpful, don't say it. If it’s only for your benefit, don’t say it. If you want to just get something off your chest, don't say that you’re speaking the truth in love. If you want to put somebody down and club somebody with the truth, don't say that you’re speaking the truth in love.
Speak only what is helpful for building people up according to their needs, so that it benefits them. Those are the qualifications of speaking the truth in love.
Now, just because you're ready to share the truth doesn't mean the other person is ready to hear it. Ask yourself if someone is ready to receive a truth; that’s part of loving them. The Bible says, “Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal” (Proverbs 12:18 GNT).
Do you want to heal, or do you want to wound? Do you want to help, or do you want to hurt? When you're in a conflict, the solution is not deception but tact. You have a choice to either hurt or heal, to either make a point or make an enemy.
How do you know when you’re speaking the truth in love? It’s pretty simple: Just ask yourself for whose benefit are saying something. If you're speaking the truth for someone else’s benefit, then God will honor your words and use them for good.
Talk It Over
When is the best time to speak truth to someone in love? Why do the circumstances of where, when, and how matter?
What is one truth you’ve been wanting to share with someone so that they can change? Is it for your benefit or theirs?
How can you know what someone’s needs are so that you can speak the truth in love to them?
This devotional © 2021 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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