Speaking The Truth In Love

angry-manWhile it’s true that people will be offended by Jesus and His Word. . . it’s also true that people will be offended if you communicate in a harsh, abrasive, abusive, cold, condescending, bossy, demeaning and arrogant manner.

The Word of God is already sharper than a double-edge sword. It penetrates the human heart and divides between soul and spirit, joint and marrow, and exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. The Word can be offensive on its own.

There is no need to be unnecessarily offensive by communicating in a cut-throat, loveless, incompassionate, snobbish manner.

Yet many religious leaders and Christians communicate this way, and then they wonder why people don’t like them, don’t want to be around them, don’t want to get to know them, don’t want to be their friend, don’t like hearing them teach and preach, snap right back at them and go off on them, don’t have good things to say about them, and put them on ignore.

It’s not because they are being “persecuted.” It’s not because they are “suffering for righteousness’ sake.” It’s not because their hearers are offended by the Gospel and the Word of God. It’s not because their hearers are convicted by the Holy Spirit.

It’s because many religious leaders and Christians do not know how to communicate in a gracious and respectful manner. Their speech is not seasoned with salt (grace), it is dripping with acid.

Sometimes we think that people plug up their ears because they don’t want to hear the truth or because they are offended by the word, but sometimes it’s because our words sound like a (((crashing cymbal))) hurting their eardrum.

If you club people over the head with Scripture and religious gobbledeegook and pontificate from a pedestal, don’t be surprised when people get offended.

It’s not always because people are offended by the Word, living in sin, or persecuting you. Sometimes it is because the messenger is mean, nasty, brutish, prideful, elitist, annoying, overly confrontational (i.e., always looking for a theological fight), a bully, belittles people, YELLS AT THEM, and lacks communication skills in general.

Speaking the truth is *not* loving when the truth is not spoken *in love*

Speaking the truth in love doesn’t mean editing the Gospel, watering down the Word, or sugar-coating the truth.

Speaking the truth in love doesn’t mean that we have to pretend to be happy and plaster a smile on our face every time we share the Word.

Speaking the truth in love doesn’t mean that we have to deliver the Word with flattery and glowing compliments.

Speaking the truth in love doesn’t mean coddling people in their sins and errors, tolerating sin and false teaching, and being overly sentimental, gushy, disingenuous, and speaking to people like they’re little babies.

Speaking the truth in love means sharing the unadulterated truth with reverence for God, humility, as ambassadors who represent Christ, and with respect and compassion for the person/people we are talking to.

Of course, some people will accuse us of being “unloving” no matter how respectfully we communicate. Even if Jesus Himself appeared to them and proclaimed the Word of God verbatim, they would accuse Him of being “unloving.” There is nothing we can do about people that. But there is something we can do about the way we communicate. Are you working on this? Me too.

kind words

4 thoughts on “Speaking The Truth In Love

  1. Hello Evelyn, I just discovered your site, and I appreciate your messages.
    Truth in Love is an excellent post, thanks.
    I think this is very important when responding to someone who considers themselves Christian but who does not share our Bible-based beliefs and knowledge. I heard about an overzealous person in our church correcting a lady who was on a first time visit to our church regarding some non-biblical practice, and the poor lady ended up in tears. If she is now discouraged from returning to our church then we have lost many future opportunities for sharing the truth.

    • Hey David,

      Thanks for stopping by. I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to that lady. I saw something similar happen years ago when I was at this Baptist church. A young lady invited a teenage relative of hers to fellowship, and she was wearing clothing that an older lady found inappropriate. So this older lady chided her in the foyer and the girl burst into tears and left. The young lady who brought her was in tears and came to the front of the service to bring the issue before the congregation. She said that she had been inviting that relative of hers to fellowship and she finally came, only to have a bad experience. She was afraid that she would be turned away from the Faith and harden her heart. The pastor spoke to the congregation about speaking to people that way and approaching newcomers who may not have even heard the Gospel before. When someone may not have ever heard the Gospel before, it makes no sense to lecture them about their clothing, especially in an unloving manner and you are a stranger to them. This is very off-putting.

      I hope that the lady you mentioned heals from that experience, and that the overzealous woman who corrected her sees the error in her approach and learns when to be firm and when to be gentle, when to speak, and when to be silent.

  2. Amen Amen Amen Amen Amen Amen Amen Amen Amen Amen… oh did I say “Amen”? This ministered to me not only about the gospel but in speaking anything. Yah bless you for this Evelyn!

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