Why You Need Truth AND Love
Jesus teaches us that communication that makes an impact is honest.
The best example comes from Jesus. Jesus, God in human flesh, walked this earth. He has hundreds of conversations. In those conversations, you can see how he talked to people. Jesus was honest. When it comes to Jesus Christ, and how he communicated, it is amazing. He had this honesty about him. It wasn’t a brutal honesty. It was just a clear honesty. It was the kind of honesty that changed everybody.
Most of us value honesty; we want honesty to be part of our lives and relationships. Yet when it comes right down to it, we often find it easier to be dishonest. Honesty is a lot of work. It’s the work of thinking through the right way to say something. It’s making sure your motives are pure when talking through a difficult subject. It seems like a risk to be honest.
When I looked at the honesty of the conversations of Jesus, and then I look at my own life, I realize it’s often a lot easier for me to be nice than to be honest. Because sometimes if you’re honest, then you have to talk it through. If I’m just nice then there’s not going to be any difficulties.
But the problem is nice doesn’t change anything. Nice doesn’t move the relationship ahead. Nice doesn’t change my heart or anybody else’s heart. You don’t learn anything through just being nice. The challenge in what Jesus said, if I want to impact lives I’ve got to be lovingly honest.
How do you do it? How does this honesty thing work? A phrase in Ephesians talks about how this works.
Eph. 4:15 We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ.
That’s how it works. “Speak the truth in love.”
Truth without love doesn’t work. It takes truth and it takes love. It can’t be one or the other. Some people, all they have is truth. Some people use the truth like a weapon. They don’t tell the truth, they aim it. Or they launch it. Or the detonate it. The truth sometimes hurts, but it doesn’t have to maim, kill or destroy. People need to see you’re telling it because you love them, you care about them, not just because you want to hurt them. It takes truth AND love.
Eph 4:29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
Is everything I say good and helpful? Do I use foul language? Abusive language?
Love without truth is equally disastrous. Apart from honesty, any relationship will suffer from lack of trust. There are some people, they’re all love but there’s no truth.
Proverbs 27:5 “An open rebuke is better than hidden love.”
We all love to have people around us that will flatter us. That will tell us good things about us. That make us feel good inside. But when push comes to shove, in those intimate relationships and those really close friendships, true friendships, we want honest words.
1 Cor. 13:6 Love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
It comes from this joy about the truth and what it does in my life and what it can do in other people’s lives. The excitement about what the truth can do and what difference it could make. Honest words have to start with honesty in my own heart. If I’m trying to be honest with other people, I’ve got to first be honest with myself. If not, they’re going to pick up on it in a second. So first I ask myself, “have I looked at this in my own life?” Then I say to somebody else, “how about this?” When you ask yourself first, then they can see into your heart that you’re doing this because you care about them and because you love them.
You love people with honest words