This is in my kitchen - ignore it - couldn't think of a suitable photo.
God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything
I think I have always sort of avoided speaking the truth in love. Mainly because, in my limited experience growing up as a Christian, it seemed to be a big excuse for some people to be quite horrible to you and then tag on the end "I'm saying this in love" I am also a bit of a coward who is bad at confrontation so that's another reason I avoid it. However, I got myself in a bit of a pickle this week by not pulling someone up on something they should have been doing (or not doing in this case). This had been going on for a quite a while and I had kept quiet about it (partly because it was a troublesome time for the person in question) and then I kind of lost it a bit resulting in me being pulled up for over-reacting. After I had got over my massive sense of the injustice of it all, I thought a bit about speaking truth in love. Not all of this is positive and scattered with Christian Fairy Dust.
- To speak the truth takes courage. Sometimes we try and avoid doing it because it will often cause confrontation. It will need you to gird your loins or loin your girds (I can never remember which)
- To speak in love does not mean you can say what you want and then tag "I am speaking in love" at the end as if it justifies all the bile you have just dished out. You say what is true as you see it - always thinking of the other person and the effect this is having.
- It is not a bully's charter.
- It is not permission for someone to bully you.
- Sometimes it is essential even though it is unpleasant. It is like spraying spiritual Febreeze into a situation (or opening a window if you live in our house - air freshener makes me cough) It prevents build up of quiet, muttering misunderstandings. It stops silent bad feeling breeding quietly in a dark corner.
- As Ephesians says - you have to be grown up to know the whole truth. Always be awake to the possibility that your perception of the truth may not be the whole story. This is where the telling it in love comes in. Makes it more balanced and puts the tellee first.
- Sometimes it is a very pleasant thing, it is you telling someone something good about themselves motivated by love for them rather than you getting on their good side.
Am feeling bit better about this now - just putting it into practice is the killer. Another weird Christian cliche - "I love you in the Lord" - what's that about? No - I'm leaving it.