A truth statement is easy to accept when it is pleasant. Let’s say you auditioned for a show and afterwards someone says to you: “Truthfully, you are one of the most talented people I have ever seen.” We like to hear that kind of truth. Unfortunately, telling the truth includes both the good and the bad. What if you had to tell the ugly truth to a friend? I think we all agree that this is not so easy.
Paul wrote to the believers in Ephesus, an ancient Greek settlement in modern-day Turkey: “Speak the truth in love.” Our heart has to be in the right place before we open our mouth and share something that is difficult to accept. Without love, everything we have to say will fall on deaf ears. And unless our intentions are to condemn the person we speak to, we should be communicating the truth in hopes that our message is well-received.
Everything we do or say is triggered by our motivation. Jesus’ motivation has always been to restore, which is why He said (John 3:17):
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Condemnation does not believe in recovery or restoration and ruins any prospects of a better life. On the other hand we exhibit faith when we invest in a person others have already given up on. Speaking the truth in love has a wonderful effect since it builds people up instead of tearing them down. Love is God’s trademark. The apostle John wrote in one of his letters (1 John 4:8):
“But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
If God is love, so are His children. We have the wisdom of ages, the Spirit of God, aka the Holy Spirit on our side. In difficult situations He will help us choose our words wisely and with love.