Speaking Truth in Love
Ephesians 4:14-16 (ESV) “So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” In Matthew Henry’s commentary of the Bible, he says, “That we may be no longer children in knowledge, weak in the faith, and inconstant in our judgments, easily yielding to every temptation… Truth is an excellent thing; yet it is requisite that we speak it in love, and not in contention.” He goes on the say, “Mutual love among Christians is a great friend to spiritual growth: it is in love that the body edifies itself; whereas a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.” Wow! This needs to be evident in the life of every Christian. Speaking truth in love is an important lesson for covenant keepers to practice with our families.
This is how The Message Bible states this passage: “No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.”
During a recent trip to Tulsa for a family reunion I attended First Baptist Church in Jenks, OK with my cousin. The pastor made a profound statement that applies to so many things with all covenant keepers. He said, “Truth without love is brutality. Love without truth is hypocrisy.” It’s funny how we often do not see ourselves as the rest of the world sees us. I don’t see myself as being blunt. However, many people have told me that I am. Rex says he doesn’t understand why so many men call me at the office for prayer because I am brutally honest with them, but they continue to call back.
The above quote has shown me why they continue to call back for more discussion and prayer. I am speaking the truth in love to their spirit man. It isn’t brutal because it is spoken from a foundation of love that wants that person to be set free from the bondage that is preventing their marriage from being restored. Often times the message of “truth spoken in love” is rejected because the person speaking needs their heart to be softened – if that doesn’t happen then brutality can be the end result. Prayer and reading the Bible soften the heart of the speaker and also the one who is listening – it is a heart issue.
This lesson needs to be learned by covenant keepers as they converse with their spouses, their children and others in their lives. It is all about the condition of the speaker’s heart. We in America have lately heard so much about gun control especially after the murders in Las Vegas. If our government tried to control every implement used as a weapon against another human there would be far too much governmental intervention in our lives. The problem doesn’t exist because of the gun, airplane or auto used as a weapon. The problem exists because our hearts have hardened and turned away from the Lord. It is a heart issue. Dealing with your own heart is the beginning of wisdom for covenant keepers.
The rest of the chapter from The Message is one that each of us should study.
“The Old Way Has to Go
“And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.
“But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.
“What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.
“Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
“Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work.
“Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.
“Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.
“Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.”
What we all must do is deal with our hearts so that we can live and respond in love to others.