Day 13: Speak the Truth in Love
Sometimes when believers begin to find out what The WORD of God says and gain some spiritual discernment, they become harsh and abrasive with others. If they see someone else making a mistake, they’re quick to point it out and correct that person. They speak scriptural truth, yes, but instead of being blessed by that truth, those who receive it end up feeling hurt or condemned.
“The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant words are persuasive.” Proverbs 16:21, NLT
It can be tempting just to shrug off others’ hurt feelings and say, “Well, it’s just my job to tell people the truth. They can do with it what they want.” But that’s not what the Bible says for us to do. It doesn’t just instruct us to tell people the truth. It says we should speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
How we approach something determines, to a great degree, how well people can receive it. Words that BLESS and are full of kindness and genuine concern for the well-being of another, enhance that person’s ability to learn from them. On the other hand, words that are accurate but cold and uncaring rarely help anyone.
It’s love that makes the truth receivable.
Even the gospel message, as powerful as it is, will often be rejected by people who would otherwise want it, when it is preached without a spirit of love. We can preach salvation with a tone of judgment, and an attitude that we’re “holier than thou,” and actually rob people of the ability to receive it. But if we’ll speak to them about it in love, their defenses will start to fall. When they hear not only our words but the compassion behind them, their hearts will open up and they’ll want to hear what we have to say. They’ll want to accept and embrace it instead of pushing it away.
So before we jump out and just start telling people everything we see and all the truth we know, we need to check our hearts. We need to ask, “Why am I saying these things? Am I just trying to show how much I know? Am I trying to be the big-shot teacher and corrector? Or am I genuinely and deeply concerned about this person?”
If we truly desire to speak from a motivation of love, the majority of the time we’ll clothe our words with gentleness and kindness. We’ll emphasize the goodness of God and His love for that person, rather than magnifying what they’ve done wrong.
After all, the Bible says it’s the goodness of God that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4). It’s His love in our hearts and on our lips that will inspire and encourage others to change.
LOVE ASSIGNMENT: When you speak to others today, think before you open your mouth. Check yourself that every word you say will be with the motive of Love…seeking the best for the other person. Take note of their response!