Posted by: New in Every Way | February 27, 2013

The Truth Doesn’t Have to Hurt

The worst thing about falling, as a child, and skinning my knee was what Mom did to heal it. She soaked a bandage in angry red mercurochrome or brownish iodine and slapped it right on to the already-painful cuts.  Boy, did that sting. The Neosporin generation doesn’t know how good they have it! But, to be honest, the medicine didn’t hurt for long, and it did help the knee heal.

The truth is like medicine. Like iodine, the truth can sting. Also like iodine, it can heal people’s lives by steering them onto a better path.

But the truth doesn’t always heal. If the hearer is offended by the truth, he may angrily reject it. If the hearer is deeply wounded, she may focus on how mean the truth-teller was and ignore the message.

The happy fact about the truth is: it doesn’t have to hurt.  It doesn’t have to be spoken coldly and critically, coming across like a battering ram.

The truth can be spoken with love.

. . .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. . . . (Ephesians 4:15 NIV) 

BridgeLove is the bridge between me and others, which allows the truth I speak to walk across looking like a friend.

How can I build that bridge? I can preface my statements with “I don’t want to offend you,” or “May I say something as a friend?” or “May I make a suggestion?”–spoken with friendly ease.

The apostle Paul was on to this:

. . . that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:14-16 NKJV, emphasis added).

Twice in this passage Paul refers to the growth that results from knowing the truth–and both times he links it with love. So, it’s not just truth that causes people to flourish–it’s a mixture of truth and love.

The truth doesn’t have to hurt! And it works better when it doesn’t.

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