Posted by: forfreedomalone | 29/09/2019

Speak, but do it with love.

Perhaps one of the hardest commandments we are given, I think, is, “speak the truth, in love”.

Have you ever thought, really thought, about what that might mean? Many people think it means something like, “I see what is happening here, that is, I see the truth and as I love you I must tell you about it”. On one level there could be truth in that, but on another level that is not what it is talking about.

For many the ‘truth’ of a situation is what THEY are seeing, how THEY are understanding it and how it makes THEM feel; rather than how what the other person says, does, or believes affects themselves. The fact that you have a habit of picking your nose at the table may disgust me and make me want to go elsewhere to eat, but to tell you this is not love, it is self centred. It is about making ME feel more comfortable, not about making your life better. If you are eating alone and no one will go near you, but you have no idea why, telling you is love, because it is concerned for your well being.

But how to you tell someone such a thing?
This is where love really comes in. If you are the kind of person who cannot express yourself well, or must be angry before saying anything of consequence, you will never speak truth in love. The ‘truth’ you feel needs to be spoke must fester within you until it erupts and as a result you will harm, not help, you will hurt and damage, not built up, protect and set free. I know several people who need to be angry, or truly enraged, before they will express deep opinions or feelings and every time they do they destroy others, or part of the relationship they have with others. They feel much better for having released something which was festering deep inside them, but they have done more damage than if they had remained silent. They have also destroyed the channel of communication, as no one want to open themselves up to rage, even if it does contain truth which could be helpful. The delivery is self centred and destructive.

Equally, I know people who will never speak, on any subject, saying that it is none of their business and, as a result of their silence, do great damage, because they had a chance to rescue someone from danger by speaking truth, in love and walked away from that opportunity. They destroy communication because those who may be looking for the guidance of truth know they will not receive it and so will not open themselves up to the cold wall of silence.

There are also those who see truth around every corner and need to tell the other about it. Although they may be right about a lot of it, they don’t know how to pick the important things to address and so destroy others and the conduit of communication by appearing to nit-pick continually.

Truth is often the difficult element to define. Picking your nose at the table is something which is easily seen and defined as truth, you do it, we can all see you do and it cannot be denied. But what about attitudes, tones of voice, hidden agendas and the like? They are often our interpretation rather than actual fact. They are often arrived at by us assessing a situation based upon what WE would be doing or intending if we had instigated it. What is the truth of this situation?

Repeated patterns often reveal truth. Is this something which happens regularly? Or is it a one off? Is the result of this behaviour almost always the same? Does the person nearly always suffer in the same way? These pointers can help us define the truth in a situation, but nothing beats prayer. The request for insight to allow us to know the truth and then HOW to speak the truth in love will be the best way to know.

Once we have something to say we need to be fully submitted to the Lord before we say it. If there is anything of OUR agenda in it we need to step back and say nothing. Speaking truth, in love, is a rare occurrence, it is more common to erupt or remain silent. But if we truly love our brothers and sisters, we need to master the art, because when we do we will save them from a great deal of pain and suffering….if they will listen to us….and, conversely, they us. Truth, delivered in love, is the perfect formula for it being received; any other way and it will most likely be rejected.

IF we really love one another, as our Lord instructed us to, let us learn how to speak truth, but to speak it in love and to learn to hear love when it is spoken to us, with truth.

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