The Truth. In Love.

Speaking the truth.

I used to hate when some one would trot out that scripture from Ephesians 4 that included the phrase “Instead, speaking the truth in love…” because its’ reference usually preceded a round of scripture-ammunition aimed to pierce the heart and kill the soul.   BAM {huge criticism fully bloated by cynical opinions = you are a big-fat-failure} + followed by  “I’m just speaking the truth in love.”  *Harumph.

If you read that last sentence and winced from the memory of it, it has probably been hurled at you, too.  If you looked it and made a mental list of people you’d like to speak-the-truth-in-love to, you are probably the BAM-aid.

It is sad to see such an amazing exhortation reduced to a justification for calling out the slightest infractions against fellow believers when in fact, Paul was inviting us to encourage and motivate one another about the reality of our high and holy calling in Christ, which was what the whole first part of Ephesians was about.  This is how we HELP each other – we remind each other (because of love) of our amazing and glorious place in Christ!  See Ephesians 1-4, s’il te plait.

What Ephesians 4 actually says is:

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.

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.   From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

And I am finding that my words are never more true than when they are spoken from the depths of my love.  Then, even though  they are hard to say and possibly even  difficult to hear, they set people free.  They loose the chains and bondages the enemy has been heaping on.  Speaking the truth in love-with love-because of love-by love causes people to grow (life surging through their veins), green and fruitful, established and strong.  Speaking the truth in love brings a maturity in those around us, a connection to Jesus rather than a condemnation that sends them running the other way with fear and shame.

{Credit} J T Lowry

And the truth you speak in love?  It is your truth.  Tell on yourself.  Admit your own stuff.  Tell your truth so you can help others avoid your pitfalls.  Tell your truth about how the enemy has come at you so other people won’t feel like they are on the ledge alone, but then be sure to tell the part about the faithfulness of God who has never left you nor forsaken you.  When we come clean, speaking the truth of how we are weak (and He is strong), of how we have failed (but He has been faithful), about how we have been the biggest sinners (and He has become our most wonderful Savior), then – we will become the “body,” the Body of Jesus Christ…

joined…

and held together

by every supporting ligament

growing-growing-growing

being   b u i l t   up in L O V E

as each part does its’ work

And guess what?  Speaking the truth in love is a ministry of all of us Jesus-loving, New-Testament believers.  We get to join our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in shattering an accusation-ridden religion we can never hope to keep and step into the power of an overwhelming love from a Father who will not let us go.  Oh wow.

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