In my life I have gone through all kinds of seasons where I have done a better or, alternatively, worse job of following Jesus. One area where you can see this pendulum swing is how I have interacted with Paul’s words in the letter to the church in Ephesus:
15 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.
I have used this verse to claim that my words need to be as truthful as possible because, “the truth will cause us to grow.” I have been warned by others that if the truth isn’t said in such a way that the other person can understand it, it is just a loud noise coming from me… (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) But on I went, sharing brutal honesty wherever I went, armed with my knowledge that I really want people to become a part of the mature body of Christ; so here’s is your truth whether you want it or not!
But like in every great story, the main character in our story has changed a bit. (More than a bit for those of you who have known me for a while…) Recognizing that the truth without love is only brutal honesty took far too long for me. Brutal honesty isn’t just sharing the truth, it is more brutality than anything. When the truth becomes a weapon, a club used to attack others, the phrase “brutal honesty” can be applied perfectly.
When our minds are governed by the truth that God is, that He loves us, and that there isn’t anything that we can do to change that, we can step forward into any situation with the confidence, with the grace, and with the love which was extended to us by God.
What does your relationship with truth and love look like? Where have you been and where are you now? Everyone is on a journey; following Jesus looks like getting a little closer to Him every single day!