Speaking the truth in love. Ephesians 4:15
If you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all. I heard this advice at church, school, and home. So I made it my creed.
But it’s a half-truth. For example, Paul writes, “Be kind and loving to each other” (Ephesians 4:32, NCV). When we act on this truth, our relationships flourish. Yet sometimes we need to tell our children or our nieces and nephews what they don’t want to hear. “Don’t play in the street” or “Be home by midnight” or “No, you can’t wear that outfit to school” doesn’t seem nice to them. Speaking the painful truth to a parent or spouse is even harder. “No, I won’t lie to your boss” or “I don’t like it when you yell at me” or “Your driving is endangering lives” may be met with rejection.
In Telling Each Other the Truth, William Backus writes, “We cannot measure love solely by whether or not what we say hurts someone’s feelings. The fact that another person may not like what we have spoken does not automatically mean we have done wrong.”
It may be difficult for those of us who try hard to think, do and say the right thing to speak the truth in love. But God promises us courage. He will help us through the rough spots.
Lord, help me not to merely say what people want to hear or try to
pacify others by telling half-truths. Although it feels uncomfortable,
I do want to be lovingly honest in my relationships.
Make It Personal
What are you tolerating because you’re trying to be nice? Ask God to help you find a way to “speak the truth in love.”
Devotional taken from It's a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.