Speaking the truth in love comes from Ephesians 4:15, “Instead, 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.” In our daily, hectic lives, it can be hard to remember to speak the truth in love.
We may feel ill, we may be stressed, or we may simply have just forgotten to be kind in the way we speak the truth to others. Maybe sometimes we even wonder, “Why do I need to remember to tell the truth in love?”
What Is the Importance of Speaking the Truth in Love?
It is easy for us to spot, point out, and condemn sins in other believers rather than in ourselves. It is a common issue that instead of examining ourselves, we examine others. As Christians, we should help other believers, but we should not point out sins in a condemning manner nor should we speak the truth in hate.
There is a difference between speaking the truth in love and speaking the truth in hate. The former strives to communicate the truth in a loving, compassionate caring way, whereas the latter seeks to communicate the truth in anger, hostility, and bitterness. Jesus wants us to speak the truth in love — not in hate.
When we speak the truth in love, it will truly help the person. However, if we speak the truth in hatred or in a negative tone, it could push the person away from God. The last thing we want to do is to hinder the gospel. Telling the truth in love comes from having the right heart attitude. It is a distinguishing mark of a mature Christian to be able to speak the truth in love.
It is not hard to speak the truth in a judgmental tone; however, it takes a mature believer to be able to speak the truth in love. When we speak the truth in love, it is not only to other believers, but we should also speak the truth to unbelievers in love. In other words, sharing the gospel with unbelievers must always be done in love.
The gospel is the true way of salvation, and a believer must be careful when they are sharing the gospel. If a believer shares the gospel in a mean-spirited way, it could cause the unbeliever to reject the gospel or cause them to develop negative feelings toward God, the Bible, or Christianity. Peter warns us about the proper way to share the truth of Jesus,
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Peter 3:15-17).
Peter tells us to be prepared to share the gospel at any moment; however, he also tells us we need to share the truth with gentleness and respect. To share the gospel without speaking in love is an erroneous way to help someone know about Jesus.
How Does Christian Maturity Make a Difference?
As previously addressed, telling the truth in love is part of having Christian maturity. When a believer speaks the truth in love, it shows they are growing in Christlikeness. Immature believers will tell the truth, but not in a loving attitude. Any person can share the truth; however, each person has to choose whether they will tell the truth in love or in hate.
As believers, everything we say needs to be with the purpose of encouraging our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as well as helping unbelievers. Paul tells us we should always strive to encourage and build up one another,
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:8-11).
A believer cannot build up another person if they are speaking the truth in a mean or hateful spirit. Instead of speaking in a legalistic manner, Christians need to speak the truth in love. You can start speaking the truth in love today with the Holy Spirit’s help. Speaking the truth in love is a spiritual discipline, which one must learn to cultivate in his or her own life.
It will not be easy at times; however, it is possible with the help of the Holy Spirit. First, you can pray to God to help you tell the truth in love rather than in a legalistic, hateful, or belittling manner to others. Ask Him to help cause the love He has for all people to take up residency in your own heart.
A striving heart after God will want to do the things, He wants us to do. God never wants us to speak the truth about His Son or the truths of the Bible in a hateful way. To do so completely undermines the gospel and God Himself. Training yourself to only speak kindly, gently, and compassionately with others will be life-changing.
You might be surprised at how far kindness can go with someone. We live in a hurting, broken world today and the last thing anybody wants to hear is someone telling them something in a superior, hateful, or unkind manner.
Why Does 'Speak the Truth in Love' Matter?
Rather than speaking in this way, mature Christians need to choose to tell the truth in love. When you share the gospel, a Bible truth, or try to help someone who is struggling with a sin in their life, you need to say it with love, kindness, compassion, and genuine concern.
In all of your conversations, you need to demonstrate that you genuinely care about the person. All people can quickly spot or sense if a person does not truly care about them. Christians are called to a higher moral standard and calling because we are representing Christ to the lost world.
Each time you talk with a fellow believer or an unbeliever, you must remember that you are representing Jesus. Would Jesus ever speak to someone in a hateful, mean, or derogatory manner? No, He would not, and neither should we. Rather than speaking the truth in hate, we should do what God commands and speak the truth in love.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.