How Love Speaks Truth
HOW we say something can be as important as WHAT we say. It is not enough that what we say is true. It matters whether we say it in a way that is brash or in a way that is kind. To speak truth in love, is to speak truth in the way in which love communicates truth.
Love always hopes.
When we speak what is true, we are not rattling off the negative facts like a pessimist. We share the truth with hope. When we speak of a problem it is not the end of the world (or the nation), it is an opportunity for a solution.
Before you call me an optimist, neither optimism nor pessimism is Christian. To hope is Christian. Without biblical hope, all we are left with is empty philosophies of optimism or pessimism based on our personal preference. Truth carries a substance that is otherworldly. It is the reality of heaven infused in our very words. It is the power to release hope where there was fear. It is the power to give life where there was death. It is the power to give freedom where there was bondage.
Love does not dishonor others.
Just because something is true does not mean we can speak it in a manner that brings dishonor. Love always protects. It does not just protect family and friends, but the stranger we have never met. It protects the person or people that we are talking about on social media. It does not just protect the one whose name we know, but the whole group we may be discussing. It protects celebrities and governing leaders too. Love does not dishonor even our enemy. A mature believer is one who speaks truth in love. Love is the way truth is shared, not merely the reason truth is communicated.
Love is not easily angered nor easily offended.
Love speaks in such a way as to set people free, not to keep them bound by their wayward ways. It does not point fingers, it shields the one under attack. Not because the one has merited the love, but because Jesus did the same while we were yet sinners. “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Truth is not communicated in offense. Offense is communicated, and the truth becomes secondary.
Politics is not an excuse for negativity, dishonor, anger, offense, or ridicule. While truth can be partisan, love is not. This means that we still have the responsibility to communicate truth in love no matter what the position of the other may be. “They” are not idiots. “They” are not imbeciles. It is possible “they” are the ones who see something we need to see. It is possible “they” have never seen what we see and therefore cannot know what we know and think like we think. Most likely “they” are not doing anything to us on purpose. It is important not to assign motives to people. It only serves to maintain the culture of “us” versus “them” when we do that. In fact, if we are thinking in terms of “them” excluding ourselves completely from whatever we deem to be the ills of the “other” we are already thinking poorly.
Love is patient.
Love takes the time to listen. It cultivates relationships overtime. Instead of demanding truth, it persuades. Instead of lamenting, it listens. Listen long enough to understand before speaking. If you cannot articulate the thoughts and feelings of another in a way that such a one feels heard, you have not listened long or well enough.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
In all we do, we are to be truth centric not evil centric. There is an endless supply of bad news, but people of truth are people of good news. Even when we speak of the ills of society, we do so in a way that does not give undue attention to the deeds of darkness. We provide opportunities for solutions rather than fodder for hopelessness.
We are not putting our head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich nor placing it in the clouds. We are keeping our mind soundly in truth marinated in love. Only then can we have eyes that see and hears that hear the ever-present voice of truth.