Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times—speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly—and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of his body, the Church. Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. Ephesians 4:14-16 TLB
Other translations say verse 15 this way: “Speaking the truth in love….”
When someone has to say that they are speaking the truth in love, sometimes they are doing the opposite. The verses above are the ones used to back up their words of love. I don’t know about you, but there are times I just can’t tell if Christian love is really being used, even in some small part and so I can become confused. When it comes to the basics like love, I don’t want to get it wrong.
I have found after a long time that it is much easier to tell when someone is NOT speaking in love. It can even be obvious, and hard to avoid. No matter how much the word ‘love’ is used, it doesn’t seem to ring true, and the reason is found in the chosen verses. As Christians we are required to speak, deal, and live truly, so that the whole body is healthy, growing and full of love. It is quite easy to see when those characteristics are absent, and that’s a good test.
Maybe it’s not only the words after all, but the tone, the manner, the delivery, the expressions used either all or in part. Easier to see when in their company, but still possible to tell in the written word like twitter or any of the social media platforms. So next time you are faced with the words, “I am speaking the truth in love” look for the things that are absent. As happens so often in conversations, it’s what is not said that tells the story. Now rest in the fact that where there is no fruit of the Spirit, there is no Spirit of love, so that ‘truth’ becomes suspect. As we are told in Galatians 5:22,23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Having said all that, should a Christian approach you, showing genuine concern and love to speak truth into your life for good, listen intently and act on it. Then, and only then, the given truth will be for your benefit as you walk the path of Christian faith. I trust we will always be open to growth by means of advice from others who may have been on the way that bit longer, and we can benefit from this experience. However, as a word of caution, we should always take great care if WE ever think it is necessary to ‘speak truth’ into another’s life and Christian walk. We should only do this after much prayer and meditation plus a helping of common sense, after all no one is perfect.