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Speak the truth in love
September 19, 2011
by Pastor Bill Hillyer, Saving Grace Lutheran Church, Delano

Many people struggle to speak the truth to their friends and family. It’s not easy to stand up for the truth – especially in a world where political correctness is supposedly more important than truth.

Many people fall to one side or the other when it comes to speaking truth. On the one extreme is to say whatever one wants without regarding the feelings of others. And, the other extreme is to water the truth down, or ignore the truth, so that we never risk offending anyone.

Even when we speak the truth, often people fail to grasp what we are trying to say. When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well in John, chapter four, she tried to steer him away from the truth. But, Jesus lovingly pointed her back to the truth in order to help her have a better, more fulfilling life.

Unfortunately, many people think that the only way to have a fulfilling life is to do whatever they want, whatever feels good at the moment. They fail to look at the long-term implications.

An example of this is when a spouse decides to go outside the marriage relationship for fulfillment and a better life. In fact, it happens whenever anyone decides that the Bible is wrong about anything – including physical and sexual relationships, or anything else that God’s Word gives us clear guidelines on.

All of God’s rules for living (including the 10 commandments) are given so that we live the best, most fulfilling life possible on this earth. When we ignore God’s Word, or worse, change or twist what God’s Word commands, we will begin a slow descent away from the truth and into the trap of the devil and this sinful world.

We will all come across situations in life that call us who are Christian to speak the truth in love. It could be a family member who is wandering from the true faith, or a friend at school who is going down the wrong road, or a co-worker becoming involved in a less-than-positive relationship. But no matter who it is, Christians are called to speak the truth in love.

Relationships that avoid speaking the truth in love will never be deep and meaningful. It’s never easy, but you will not be doing anyone a favor by avoiding the conflict that may result from the truth.

When we speak the truth in love, we have no guarantees on what will happen, or where the relationship will go, but it is necessary, as St. Paul says, so that, “speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15).

Our goal should always be to speak the truth in love so that we can gently restore our friends or family member back to the relationship the Lord desires to have with them – one that brings forgiveness, eternal life, and true fulfillment into their lives.