There are some verses in the Bible that are easy to understand, but really hard to live well. One of those verses is Ephesians 4:15 – speaking the truth in love. Some people struggle with speaking the truth, and allowing selfishness to go unchecked and hurt others. Many others, though, have no problem speaking the truth, but struggle greatly in speaking with love.
I have heard parents be told how they should be raising their kids. I have had people tell me how I should be doing my job (or tell others how I should be doing my job!). I have seen people come back to church after being gone for a while, only to be greeted with, “Where have you been?” It is HOW the conversation happens that hurts most of all. We need to grow in HOW we speak to others, even in the conversations that need to happen.
I will be honest, I am not always great with the HOW. I am willing to have the hard conversations, but Jesus has had to grow me a lot in learning to speak with love and gentleness. I have had to learn that “Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs” (Prov 19:11). There are many things that are better not to bring up, or can be brought up at a better time. When I do need to bring something up, I need to work to bring it up in the right way.
Too many people are “well-intentioned dragons” – dealing with disagreements in unhealthy ways, asking undermining questions, and assuming that they are usually right. These are people who mean well but don’t understand the hurt they bring and the damage they are causing in their unhealthy HOW.
We need to speak God’s truth. We need to speak in love. Some need to grow in speaking the truth. The rest of us need to learn to speak with more love. No matter how you need to grow – follow Jesus and walk humbly.