Speaking The Truth In Love

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I recently wrote two different blogs on the topic of bullying: “Christian Bullying” and “The Bully In The Closet”.  As I asked some friends for their in-put concerning the blogs, one friend raised a question that had been weighing on my heart/mind as well.  She asked, “When do we speak truth?”

The purpose of this blog is an attempt to address the other part of the equation when it comes to handling matters of disagreement or error in relationships.

“Is it okay to speak truth?”

“When is it okay to speak ‘truth’ to one another?”

“How should we speak truth to one another?”

I am not a pastor or Bible scholar so I am not the most qualified person to address these issues.  I am sure there are those much more gifted and qualified to address this topic.

For those who can wade through “murkier” waters, here are some thoughts…

[I am going to try to keep my thoughts succinct because my husband tells me my blogs are too long.  :-)]

To answer the question, “Is it okay to speak truth?”, I looked up a number of verses in the Bible in reference to truth:

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.

John 8:32

and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

John 16:13

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

The Bible establishes that there is truth.  We can believe and live according to the clear guidance of Truth. 

The Bible also makes it clear that deception is prevalent and easy to believe.

The key to knowing the Truth is to listen to the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit will guide us into truth.  God’s Word will speak Truth, and the Holy Spirit will help us to understand the Truth.

Can Christians be deceived?  Yes!  We live still in sinful bodies so naturally at times we will revert to our sinful nature instead of walking in the control of the Holy Spirit.

The first priority of order is for us to be led by the Holy Spirit in discerning truth.  We need to be spending our time studying and searching the Scriptures so we understand truth.  If truth comes from God, we must know what God says.

In order to accurately know truth, we have to determine to seek the truth regardless of the result(s).  We cannot try to fit the Scriptures around our own personal beliefs and opinions.

So, “When is it okay to speak ‘truth’ to one another?”

Just as we must be led by the Spirit to discern truth, so we must be led by the Spirit to speak it.  Christians are to be “Spirit-led” or “Spirit-controlled.”  So often, we allow the flesh to control us and wonder why we get fleshly responses or reactions to our words. 

John 6:63 – It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.

“Darkness” is the diminishing or absence of light, depending on where you live.  There is a “reaction” when light enters a dark room.  The darkness disappears and everything that was unclear is illuminated.

When truth is spoken, there will be a response.  The key is to make sure the response is not a reaction to our own attempts to confront a “problem” that we see.

Many times, there is a negative reaction between Christians.  There are several possible reasons for this:

One, the individual speaking the “truth” is not waiting on God’s guidance and timing so the hearer is not prepared to receive the truth at that time.

Two, the individual hearing the truth has hardened their heart and will not receive the truth.

Jeremiah 18:12

“But they will say, `It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’

– See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Hardened-Hearts#sthash.mPrppzDP.dpuf

Mark 8:17 – And when Jesus knew [it], he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?

Proverbs 29:1 (Viewing the King James Version. Click to switch to 1611 King James Version of Proverbs 29:1.): He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

Three, the manner in which truth was spoken was incorrect.
Ephesians 4:15 – But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 – Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.   (Read More…)
Fourth, truth was spoken in the wrong context.  This “context” does not refer to word context but to relational context.  Sometimes, God is asking us first to establish a relationship with the person before we ever attempt to speak “truth”.

Proverbs 27:6 (KJV): Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

No person should tell another individual what they must say and when they must say it.  Only the Holy Spirit should direct.  If the Holy Spirit isn’t leading and speaking through us, our efforts are vain and pointless.  Only the Holy Spirit can convict and change hearts and lives.

If we see error and wonder if we should confront it, we should keep in mind these guidelines:

“Is it clearly stated in Scripture?”

“Is God clearly prompting us to speak or share these truths?”

“Is God showing us it’s the right timing?”

“What is our motivation for speaking?”

“Do we have the right relationship with this person to speak truth?”

“What is the manner with which we are speaking truth?”

The goal in speaking truth should stem from love for that person and a desire to see them walk in the freedom of truth. 

Jesus loved His enemies and died for them!  The least we can do is love our fellow sinners and show them Jesus’ love.

Ephesians 4:15 (New King James Version)

“But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—”

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