Jesus said to the people who believed in him,
“You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Yesterday, we talked about the connection between confession and reconciliation—that in rightfully humbling ourselves, via confession, we speak truth, which brings freedom. A #MoreAbundantLife is a freedom-filled life, and Truth is at the center of this freedom.
There is a beautiful connection to be found
between truth, love, and words.
Where love is lacking, the truth that is spoken gets lost. An important message can be undermined by a poor delivery. In speaking truth, we are free to say hard things, if they are said with kindness.
We must be careful with our word choice, our tone…but even these can’t mask what is in our hearts. Jesus said, “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil” (Matt 12:34-35, ESV).
I have brought forth from my evil treasure more often than I would care to admit. When I struggle to speak kindly, it always starts with pride and my pride is often provoked by some kind of hurt. Gratitude for God’s grace to me—because it humbles me—is the only way to move past hurt:
“We love because he first loved us.
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar;
for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen
cannot love God whom he has not seen.
And this commandment we have from him:
whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
1 John 4:19-21
Where truth is not spoken, love is not being shown. Sometimes truth-telling feels unkind. And yet, if Jesus resides within us, we must speak truth because He is Truth (John 14:6). Speaking truth requires a bit of bravery for some of us who like to avoid confrontation. We might prefer to hint around, make cutting remarks, or joke to convey our meaning, but watering down the truth is an ineffective way to communicate. Doing this makes your point as clear as mud.
And our words, they matter, because He is The Word. This is a great clarifier: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:17).
We might feel less vulnerable by saying difficult truths in a harsh tone. They say the best defense is a good offense and, if we know something might cause conflict, sometimes we feel safer in landing the first blow…but this isn’t loving.
We might feel less vulnerable if we avoid truths that might offend, thinking that people might like us better, if they like what we say to them…but this isn’t loving.
Vulnerability is intricately tied to intimacy. When you share truth, hearts are brought together. Relationships will be broken and bent if they are not overflowing with truth. Jesus is truth…so how can we live a #MoreAbundantLife without Him?
To be ministers of reconciliation, we must be loving Truth-tellers. Which is harder for you—to be loving? Or truthful?