A nearby church has this on their sign, “If the truth hurts, it’s working.” This has been bothering me all week, so much so, that I didn’t want to post a picture of it on my site. This is a real struggle for me and maybe you too. There are times when the truth comes with a sting. There are times when my heart is convicted and it doesn’t feel good, but I know it is time for a change. I question whether it always has to hurt. I have experienced others use the phrase truth in love to be harsh and mean.
I have also experienced truth that comes as an “ah ha” and is encouraging even when it means I need to change. I think these scriptures help us unpack this difficult road we walk .
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Ephesians 4:14-15 NIV).
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29 ESV).
I am challenged by this daily. My oldest son will say to me, “Have you told them…” It is so easy to sit back and judge others and their choices. I will wonder if a conversation will help them see a new perspective or opportunity. I will question speaking up. Do we need to hear the truth in love? Yes. I also think we cannot speak that truth without relationship. Speaking into someone’s life is a privilege, and the goal is always to build up and bring growth. I am certainly not perfect at this. My son would say I need to speak up more often.
Recently, I have been walking this line with someone I love dearly. I have the relationship, but I cannot control their response to my words. As much as I have prayed and asked God to guide each word that comes from me and when they come, I think my words have still been received as harsh. This is heartbreaking. Speaking truth in love has to be done with one ear to God and one ear on the other. It’s a skill that grows as we grow in maturity. The key that I am learning is to actively learn each time speak into the life of a loved one. So does it have to hurt, no, but it does take practice.
How have you learned to speak the truth in love? How have others shared the truth with you? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.