The Cold Hard Truth
I am honest. Yes, I am. I pride myself on that. I raised three incredible children. (Yes, they are incredible. No, they are not perfect. Yes, I failed them over and over again. But they offer me unconditional love in spite of it. YAY!) Back to my story…I taught my children to always tell the truth. I praised the truth. I rewarded the truth. I reminded them to tell the truth. Then… it… happened . . . I was in a video store. (Do you remember those? We used to go to a store to rent a video tape to play in our VCR. Ugh! Some of you are soooo young!) Anyway…I was in a video store with my youngest, Colby, who was 3 at the time. He was standing and looking at the kid movies. He was pondering which one he wanted us to rent. Then, suddenly a lady stepped in front of him. She was large and completely blocked his view. He was insulted. He looked up with a furrowed brow and said, “Well, my word! That is the biggest booty I have ever seen!” YIKES! I swept him up, under one arm and made a mad dash to the front door! Whew! We made it to the car before she could even comment on his rude statement.
Yes, Colby told the truth. The truth is good, right? That is what I taught him. I profess to “speak the truth with love”. Again, truth is good, right? Well…maybe not always. Just like Colby’s statement – sometimes that truth just doesn’t need to be spoken. If we are not careful, we can say “true” things that are not helpful and instead can be very hurtful. Our words can be harsh and leave a lasting scar. “You have a big booty” is not loving or kind. Those words did not encourage or inspire or point that sweet woman to God. (If you were THAT lady and you are reading this – I am SOOOO SORRY! Please forgive us.) Colby was only 3 and although he didn’t even understand what he did – we can learn from it. You see – he was insulted that she just stepped in front of him and blocked his view. He felt he had been wronged and lashed out with hurtful words. Let’s ask ourselves, “Do we ever do that?” Do we use our words as weapons when we are hurt? Ouch! I think we do!!!
So…how do we know when to speak the truth and when to keep silent? Well, obviously I am not an authority on this subject. Matter of fact – I really need to work on this. So, let’s see what God says. Ephesians 4:15 (NLT) says,
“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ.”
Oh, that must be where I got it. Verses 31-32 (NLT) say,
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander… be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another…”
But what does that mean? Speaking the truth in love means that we as Christ followers should always be honest and true – but what we say and what we do should be done in a loving and kind manner, offering grace and forgiveness to others. We should really be careful with our words. Once they are spoken – they can never be retracted. Yes, we should speak the truth and be honest – but we need to have our heart in the right place.
I am convicted. Are you? So, together, let’s commit to speak the truth - with a kind and tender heart.