Have you ever read over the same chapter in the Bible and feel like you aren’t getting anything out of it? We’re supposed to get something out what we read, right?! Sometimes God uses others in our lives to show us what it is that He wants us to learn.
I had to go to my husband for some direction with Galatians chapter 4. I was having a hard time gleaning anything. Have you been there?
He emailed what he believed to be the take away from chapter 4 – speaking the truth in love.
As I mulled it over, it hit home. This was what I needed to get from this chapter but wasn’t seeing. The Lord used my husband’s wisdom to teach me a lesson.
Speaking the truth in love has not been an area in which I have excelled.
I tend to be more blunt and direct. Speaking my mind without considering how it may come across to the person to whom I’m speaking.
It has landed me in some deep waters in the past.
My family knows me as the one who isn’t afraid to say what’s on my mind. If you have sin in your life I’m going to tell you its wrong and that I don’t agree with it. I’m not going to enable you. I’m not too good at sugar coating things. Because that’s how it would feel to me.
Yet, there is a balance between sugar coating things and speaking the truth in love.
One enables the sin while the other address the sin and the need for change while still standing for your convictions in a grace-filled manner.
I’ve had relationships end because of the lack of grace given from everyone. Instead of addressing things correctly with speaking the truth in love, pride, criticism and offenses reigned supreme and the relationships die off because everyone ends up with hurt feelings.
Not a good place to be. I’ve walked that road. Spiritual growth along with some maturity has guided me down a different path over the last few years.
The Bible is clear on the fact that God wants us to be unified within the body of Christ. Speaking the truth in love is one way in which we can achieve this.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1
In chapter 4 of Galatians, we see that Paul was not afraid of offending the people to tell them the truth.
Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? Galatians 4:16
Paul speaks pretty bluntly and forcefully to the Galatians throughout the entire book (O foolish Galatians he calls them!). He was their spiritual father so he had some friendship points in the bank to spend against them.
But even with that said, he was not afraid to risk their displeasure in order to zealously give them the truth. It’s clear that we shouldn’t sit ideally by.
We need to balance grace and truth when we deal with people.
This should be how we deal with people. If we have nothing but grace, we won’t offend anyone, but people we love and care about may end up hurting themselves because we won’t speak up and do something. If we have all truth, we may end up turning people away from the Lord because they see us as harsh, blunt, and unloving.
While he speaks harshly, we still see him pausing to praise them for the things that he was impressed with.
Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. Galatians 4:15
How do we do this? How do we not sugar coat but speak the truth in love? How do we not come across as overbearing or judgmental?
For the sake of our relationships, we need to grow in this important area! People and relationship matter to God and if we are honest they matter to us. We need people in our lives.
How to Speak the Truth in Love
Pride will destroy every relationship that it’s invited into.
Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom. Proverbs 13:10
Others will be more willing to hear what you have to say when they see humility instead of pride.
You can’t control the other person in conversation but you can control yourself.
Who wants to feel scolded in front of people? Anyone? I don’t think we are all raising our hands for this one.
If you have something to discuss with someone, do them a favor and do it privately.
Don’t do all of the talking.
If there’s one thing that turns people off it’s the feeling of being lectured.
Don’t lecture people. Let them do most of the talking.
Talk about your own inadequacies.
Remind whomever you are speaking to that you do not have it all together. That you are not perfect.
Speak the truth.
Don’t sugar coat things, but rather sprinkle love and grace throughout your entire conversation.
Remind the person that you love them and want the best for them.
Praise the other person.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
No one likes to be criticized. Our pride doesn’t like it. Remember this when talking to someone.
Say positive things about them. Say them often!
We are all going to be faced with circumstances that will cause us to have to speak up. Let’s make sure we are doing it in a way that brings honor to God and strengthens your relationships.
A big thank you to my husband for helping me see the light this week. I hope you all are as challenged as I am now!
Your turn! Do you find it hard to speak with truth and grace? Do you have any tips to add to the list?
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