by Keith Leach, June 2022
Ephesians 4:15 “But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,”
Perhaps the biggest failing of Christ’s call to the Church is our inability to speak the truth in love. The Bible gives simple instructions on how to go about “speaking the truth in love,” yet we seem unable follow those instructions. In fact, truth telling has become a severe problem not only for the Church, but also for our society. Telling the truth about even the most mundane of things seems somewhat impossible. How can the Church show people the joy of being one of Jesus’ own disciples? Perhaps it is in learning how to tell the truth in love.
So how is the Church of Jesus Christ to be better about truth telling? Christian writer Brent McDougal gives us wonderful insight saying, “Ephesians counsels us to speak the truth in love. The context is the truth of the gospel, in the myriad ways that apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers share the truth of who Jesus is, what God has done and what God continues to do through the Holy Spirit. That truth points to the power of the gospel to redeem and transform.” He goes on to provide five simple steps to growing in our ability to tell the truth:
- Listen before you speak. Make sure you understand the other person’s perspective by asking good questions, taking time to hear their perspective.
- Check yourself. Do you harbor hidden motivations? Are you dismissing your role in a perceived offense?
- Watch your words. Keep it simple. Speak with kindness. You cannot take back some things that you say. Do not be afraid to speak words of love throughout the exchange. Keep returning to the home base of love, the reason why you need to speak the truth.
- Pray before, after and during the conversation. Ask the Spirit to help you to have the right words to say and that your words will be saturated in love.
- Trust in God. Speaking the truth in love will be difficult and may seem costly in the short run. It is like an investment; it pays more long-range dividends rather than short-term gains.
Perhaps this is the time we should all practice speaking the truth in love.