Pacify or Edify: How to Speak the Truth in Love

speak the truth in love

If you’ve been reading Her Life Speaks for a while, you’ve probably gathered that I love growth. Challenge is my middle name. Though I fail a lot, I love getting out there and going for it. The way I see it is even if I don’t finish the race, I’m farther than I would have been if I never started.

But, let’s not fool ourselves.

I also realize that even though I’m a glutton for punishment (pats self on the back lol), I’m still selling myself short if I continue to not hit the mark (gulping down a hard truth). If I excuse my inability to finish what I start, I still run the risk of not going as far as I could go. So, though I thrive off of “going for it”, there is still (and always will be) room for improvement. And, it’s my job to stay open to the truth when others push me to greatness.

Time for Mirror Talk

Mirror talk is where you take a good look at yourself and perform a self-evaluation (James 1:23-25). And, we’re not talking about a glance in a regular mirror. Oh no, my friend. We’re talking about one of those beauty mirrors that magnify your face until you can see every pore and blemish!

I’ve noticed that a lot of people are okay with a glance, but they don’t want to take a real good look at themselves. They tend to overvalue one aspect of themselves, undervalue the other, and dismiss any discomfort with, “That’s just the way I am.”

How do I know this? Because they are easily offended and quick to become defensive. Before they’ve given your words a second thought, they are offering reasons for why you are wrong.

And, often times, when you know that a person isn’t willing or able to receive mirror talk, we can fall into the snare of it’s okay. We begin to flatter and pacify instead of speaking the truth in love.

So, what happens when we comfort our fellow teammates with an, “It’s okay”?

Pros

Sometimes what we’re trying to say is that God will work all things out for their good. God is a forgiving God who doesn’t hold grudges. And, not only did this situation not come as a surprise to God, but He knows exactly how to render restoration. So, “It’s okay.”

Cons

Sometimes we are missing an opportunity to give them God’s perspective. Why are they in that situation? Why do they think or behave that way? What is the lesson?

The key is knowing what God has laid on your heart to share and being obedient to His instructions, not our feelings or opinions.

Do You Have Oily Lips?

King David referred to flattery as lies rolling off oily lips (Psalm 12:1 MSG). When we don’t tell each other the truth, we allow the oil of fear to slip us into nice words that will do very little to help our teammate change.  At this point, we are more worried about their feelings, how they will view us, the relationship – than saying what God put on our hearts to say with love.

People may not accept your help, but remember who you are trying to please – God.

Speak the truth in love.

There’s a saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” A relationship isn’t required for you to be a truth-teller, but it can definitely help. And, then again, there are people who will refuse to bend whether you’ve known them 10 minutes or 10 years (Prov. 29:1 ERV). But, Jesus never promised acceptance and popularity.

So, what’s the play call?

Being a follower of Christ isn’t all glitter and roses. Sometimes we can become too focused on favor and blessings that we forget the cross we have to bear in speaking the truth. Can it be scary and overwhelming? Absolutely!  But there is a prize to be won for following Jesus. The glitter and roses are the reward of pleasing God and eternal life.

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