Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Speak the Truth in Love

by Aleta Kay

She was the neighborhood busybody. What she didn’t know she made up, but she told everybody everything she knew, or thought she knew. Talk about stirring up trouble! One day she came to our house and started telling things. I interrupted her. “I don’t need or want to hear this. It is gossip and it hurts people.” The young girl responded, “I’m only telling the truth.”
Everything is not everybody’s business. The fact that something is true doesn’t mean everyone has a right to know it. When it is necessary to speak a painful truth to someone, it is important to say it in love in private. We all know people who are tactless. I’m one of those people who suffer from hoof and mouth disease. If I put it on paper first I can think about the right way to say something. If I’m in a position where I have to speak off the cuff, it may come out sounding critical or judgmental, which is not the impression I want to give.
How do you respond to someone who is tactless? Do you get your feelings hurt, get angry and walk away in a huff? Do you vent to a good friend? Do you retaliate with hurtful things of your own? Or do you give them the benefit of the doubt and think maybe they didn’t mean it the way it sounded? Which do you think is the better way to respond? Which brings you peace of mind and keeps friendships intact?
Psalm 89:14 says, “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.” It could be paraphrased, “Your kingdom is built on what is right and fair. Love and truth are in all you do.” (Max Lucado: “The Inspirational Study Bible) It is important to pursue love and truth together–at the same time. One should never be sought or expressed without the other. When you have to say something difficult to someone, be sure they know you are saying it because you care about them. If you don’t care about them, maybe you don’t have the right say that difficult thing.

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