Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.Verse 15 (NIV)
It is so very sad that abuse by some in the church family causes us to shy away from doing the very thing scripture tells us to do. Our focus verse today is sometimes quoted as an excuse by people who feel they must speak the truth to someone – and yet they fail miserably to do so with love. Instead, their thoughtless, harsh way of talking to others hurts feelings and leaves gaping wounds in their relationships. Paul isn’t giving us license to do that. He’s encouraging Christians to speak truthfully and lovingly. This is not a licence to push our own agenda or build a case for or against someone.
Sometimes, “speaking the truth in love” involves confronting and rebuking when correction is needed. Jesus himself said as much in Revelation 3:19: “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.” Paul cautioned young Timothy, whom he had appointed the pastor of the church at Ephesus, “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father” (1 Timothy 5:1).
Sometimes uncomfortable words have to be spoken, but they must be said in a loving way. If no one talks about an obvious problem, it lurks in the background, it undermines trust and it eats away at relationships. Those occasions need to be handled with oceans of love, with volumes of care and most of all with the presence of Jesus. He alone can provide the grace needed for these kinds of encounters.
Father make us wise, transparent, truthful and humble. When we need to speak the truth in love, bath us in your love so that we speak and act godly. Amen.