Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Speak the Truth in Love - Part II

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. Eph. 4:15 (NIV)

If you read “Speak the Truth in Love – Part I” this posting will make more sense. The bottom line is that as most of us do not accept anything that sounds remotely critical without getting somewhat defensive. Yet God intends for husbands and wives to help our partners to become more like the Son, as in iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17).

Speaking the truth in love almost sounds like an oxymoron. If something is true, why do I have to worry about whether or not it comes across as loving? Dah! The reason is that if it does not come across as loving the other person won’t listen. So here are some suggestions culled from a blog posted by Heath Lambert entitled “Gracious Candor”.

1. In humility, avoid thinking more highly of yourself than you ought.(Romans 12:3)
2. In humility, count others more significant than yourself. (Philippians 2)
3. In humility, be quick to listen and slow to speak. (James 1:19)
4. In humility, deal with the matter as privately as possible. (Matthew 18)
5. In humility be honest about your own struggles and limitations. (Matthew 7:1-5)
6. In humility, be honest about the grace that you have been shown. (Luke 6:37-38)
7. In humility, speak the truth.( Ephesians 4:15)

I love to state the obvious the key is “in humility.”

Unfortunately there is another component to this speaking the truth in love which may outweigh the “humility” part. If I have not established a loving relationship with an individual, humility will only take me so far. IF however, I am truly convinced that the person really, truly loves me then even if I get defensive I will be more likely to reflect on what has been shared. First of all I know if someone really loves me they wouldn’t try to hurt me, not intentionally. Secondly I know that if the person really loves me it is most likely difficult for them to share something that they know might hurt my feelings.

So perhaps the phrase should say, “In humility and with the love of Christ speak the truth to those who know how deeply you care for them.”
So how should the husband cited in Part I approach his wife in terms of spending and their spiritual growth?

He might say something like “Honey, as I have been going over our expenditures I am getting somewhat concerned. My concern is not only that we are incurring debt but I am equally concerned about our hearts. Perhaps without realizing it the acquisition of “things” has become too important, and we are not being good stewards of God’s resources. Let’s sit together next Saturday and review our spending patterns to be sure that they reflect our priorities.

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