Friday, February 22, 2008

Speaking the Truth in Love

So, what does it mean to speak the truth in love? I thought I knew what this meant, but now I’m not so sure. We use terms like “tough love” to explain when we have to say or do difficult things that we know others won’t like. Of course, we do them because we truly care. If we didn’t care, we certainly wouldn’t do things to cause “trouble” (at least people like me who avoid conflict wouldn’t do it).

But what happens when we’re struck with a realization that something’s wrong? Do we stand up and say so? Do we beat around the bush and hope others figure out what we really mean? Do we only say the nice things in hopes the errors will correct themselves?

Or does real love call us to point out what we see and let the chips fall where they may? Who knows, we may come to realize we misunderstood or did not have the full picture – and then we can correct our view. Or, we may be the catalyst that was needed to really get things going in the right direction.

Okay, people, let me hear from you! [Post your thoughts by clicking the comments area below - you can use the Anonymous options to post without a Blogger account]



Anonymous said...

I have 2 close friends whose Mothers are quite elderly. The mothers need rides to shop and make appointments, etc. My friends are there for them. After awhile though, I noticed changes in my friends language. "I HAVE to Mom", in a strained voice, became a concernedly common response to my invitations. I often would go with them, to spend time with my friends (I like their Moms). When I mentioned, as gingerly as I was capable, that I didn't like to here these statements, "...I'd rather you say I'm going Mom. It sounds to me as if your words are poisoning your relationship with your Mom. I think positive words will keep you from resentment of your situation."

Both friends were hurt, and said so. Friend A, however, said she was glad that I said something, asking more about the subject. She changed her tone and vocabulary. Later she told me it did indeed seem to make her feelings toward her responsibilities less stressed. Friend B asked me to quit picking on her. She continues to be bitter toward her responsibilities. Friend B may be willing to hear more some day, and I will be there. Friend A was ready.

I spoke the truth, as I perceived it. They each heard a truth, they perceived differently. Christ spoke truths we perceive individually. Christ wishes us listen to one another and to speak truths.

Dave said...


Thanks for sharing! Your story sheds light on an important point - we are not responsible for how others act (or react) to us speaking the truth IN LOVE to them. If our motives are pure, then we should be able to speak the truth.

It's a balance isn't it? We need to hear the truth, but we also need to hear it in a way that (if we're willing to) we can truly accept it (in love).

I hope my friends share your desire to speak the truth. While I don't always react well (at first), I'm learning to listen better and see if what my friends tell me has merit. If so, I need to act on what they tell me. If not, I probably need to dig a little deeper to understand what they are trying to tell me.