A portion of Ephesians 4:15 commends us to speak the truth in love. I have become acutely aware lately of just what a difficult thing that is to do. Speaking the truth to those with whom we have disagreement is hard enough. Adding love to the mix seems near impossible.
Many of us feel awkward telling another person how we really feel. We don’t have the right words. We are afraid of how it will be received. We don’t want to cause trouble. We figure we should keep our mouth shut. “Confronting” is not our strong suite. Avoidance feels more comfortable. We won’t be able to say it without flipping out. So…we take the silent route and in the end that doesn’t work either.
Hard as it seems, truth that is dished out with side helpings of kindness and respect and, yes – love really is possible and the very best option. If you are having a hard time confronting a difficult situation with another person, the first thing to do is pray. Don’t underestimate God’s ability to clarify the “truth” and then give you the courage to say it.
When you actually sit down and say those difficult things, think about how you would want someone to approach you if the shoe were on the other foot. That’s the love part. The truth without love can be too harsh; love without truth can be weak. But what is the unbeatable combination? Truth AND love.