Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
I met a man who ended many of his criticisms by saying, “And that’s the way it is!” He apparently had great confidence in his own discernment. And if you challenged him, he would say, “But it’s true!”
But if he spoke the truth, it was not spoken in love. Instead, he used truth as a blow-torch, scorching anyone who crossed his path.
In some ways he might have kept God’s law by telling the truth, but he broke it when he did not speak in love.
So how do we know if we are speaking the truth in love?
Here are some considerations to make before speaking:
Is it helpful? Will saying this bring about good?
Is it necessary? Must I say this?
Is it loving? Will it build someone up in Christ?
These are the goals we should seek. The apostle Paul urges us to “keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace,” “so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity.” Paul sees words in a way like construction materials that can be used in building—so that we can build a house of peace. Only with such a goal in mind may we speak the truth.
God, forgive us if we think that we have such a firm grasp on truth that we blast others with it. Truth cannot be separated from love. Help us to discern when and how to speak the truth in love. Amen.