Discipleship: The truth can hurt, but…

The truth can also heal, encourage, save and impart wisdom.  Our words are more likely to be well received if we “Speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).  We have all had the experience of having someone react defensively to something we’ve said.  If that is the case, it is possible that either the receiver is emotionally or spiritually immature, or we the speaker are.  Or both of us are!  Saying the truth comes relatively natural for most adults who have integrity.  It’s the “in love” part that can be very challenging and requires spiritual and/or emotional maturity.  We often, almost subconsciously, will say things convincing ourselves that we’re saying it in another’s best interests.  But, we may actually have a hidden agenda or are stating a truth in a passive-aggressive way to get back at someone, or to gain the upper hand.  True and sincere empathy (Christ-like love) is a sign of emotional and spiritual maturity, on both the speaker and the receiver’s part.   As receivers of truths, we can grow and avoid unnecessary pain when we internalize sincere and well-intentioned truths.  As truth speakers, sometimes the person we’re speaking to isn’t ready for the truth right then, even though it may be in their best interests.  We can’t control that.  But we can control what we say.  Check your motives honestly.  “If in doubt, check it out.”  Be led by the Holy Spirit when it comes to giving advice to others, pray about it and check your motives.  A wisely chosen word can be either “apples of gold” (Proverbs 25:11) or a fiery torment (James 3:6) depending upon your intent.  Endeavor to always speak the truth… IN LOVE.  That’s what Christ did.  He embodied it.  “I am the way, the truth and the life…”. (John 14:6)

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