When reading my Bible earlier today, I read through Ephesians and came across Ephesians 4:15. It says,
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
I was thinking about this and realized that many times, we may be speaking the truth, but it is not in love. A friend of mine was very good at pointing out negatives in other people. She meant it with a good heart, so that they may be able to work on those faults and become a better person, but even though she was speaking the truth, it wasn’t in love. The attitudes and tones that convey judgment, disappointment, or pride aren’t helpful for building each other up. Some people say “the truth hurts.” And, yes, there are many times when it is hard to hear the truth, but as Christians, we are called to speak the truth in love so that “the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:12).
The speaking of truth in a non-loving way is one of the ways relationships are ruined and the view of Christianity is hindered. If we go around saying we love Jesus and we worship Him and He is the best, yet we turn to our neighbor and tell them that they are sinning, we are not building the kingdom of God. We need to convey the message to our fellow Christians and the rest of the world that God loves us, even though we are sinners. We are ALL sinners and that makes none of us better than the rest. None of us has the right to judge or condemn our neighbor for what they’ve done.
There is a place for accountability in the Church, and I’m not saying we should never point out mistakes or sins in others. We can guide each other in as an act of love, but our purpose needs to be with love, so that their attention can be directing at the issue in order to solve it… ALL to build up the kingdom of God.
As we interact with others today and this week, we should think about how our words are being heard. What message are we sending with what we are saying, how we are saying it, and our on-verbal cues? Are we speaking truth in love?