Skip to main content

To "speak the truth in love" does not mean "reprimand"

"...speaking the truth in love..."
Ephesians 4:15

Notice the "dot, dot, dot," before and after that phrase?  But how many times have you heard it as a full sentence?  Speak the Truth in love.  As a full sentence, it loses all context.  And how often is this phrase used as an excuse to reprimand another "in love" and tell them about their multitude of sins?

The New Living Translation has a completely different take on this phrase.  It states, "we will hold to the truth in love."  Now, that changes it a bit, doesn't it?  That makes the action about me and not about me acting on another.  

In context, Ephesians 4 is talking about the Body of Christ and how we must work to grow up and mature in the Lord.  "Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe..."  The work is for each of us to grow up and cling to the Lord's love.  

And what Truth are we clinging to?  It is the truth that we are deeply loved by God.  A professor once told me that it was the mature and strong believers that knew this truth in the depths of their being and knew that they were deeply loved regardless of their behavior or failings.  

Take Romans 14 as an example.  Some believers are considered weak (immature), while others are considered strong (mature in faith).  The believers that believe it is okay to eat anything (anything is permissible) are considered strong.  While the believer that, "has a sensitive conscience," is considered "weak in faith."  Wow.  

Move this into the context of today.  Which believers believe that eating anything is okay?  Which believers are considered too liberal or too progressive?  Which believers know deeply that they are loved and work to love others--without a sensitive conscience?  Perhaps they are the strong in faith.

And which believers have stated that their holy ears cannot hear cussing?  Cannot be around "sinners" because of their perceived holiness?  Will not welcome certain individuals into their sanctuary?  Perhaps these are the believers that, thinking themselves strong, Jesus would call "of little faith."

And if you're about to speak the Truth in love to another?  As a reprimand?  Don't.  Cling to the truth that God loves you deeply.  Regardless of your behavior or present company.

How are you thinking about this today?  
How's your conscience?  

until soon,


Popular posts from this blog

What it means when a narcissistic pastor says, "I love the church"

I ran across this article while going through a rough place in my life.  It had profound meaning for me in dealing with some of the individuals in my life that have narcissistic traits. The article highlights the fact that when a narcissist says, “I love you,” he really means that he loves the way that you (fill in the blank): take care of his needs, focus your energy on him, submit, etc. Individuals that have been in relationships with narcissists often admit to feeling crazy, not recognizing the abuse while it was occurring, and to keeping secrets to cover for his abuse, infidelity, etc.  I wonder if this is what many people are recognizing in the #exevangelical movement.  Because as I was going through this article again, I began to realize that many of the narcissistic traits could be applied to the many pastors and men in church leadership that I have known through the years. Being in church ministry for twelve years, I became proficient at silence and lies to cover the behavior…

Trauma is like a bee in the sand

My professor was teaching on the power of language- the power words have over us- when he used the example of the beach. He told us to remember the last time we were at the beach. The warm sand, the relaxing sounds, etc...

It took me back to Mazatlan. I left the resort pool and walked down the small steps to the beach where vendors were selling dresses, sunglasses, jewelry. The sand was warm on my bare feet and I walked quietly through the dry sand, my face to the sun, the wind in my hair... When a pain shot up through the ball of my foot into my ankle. I looked down to see a bee still stuck in the flesh of my foot. I was immediately angry. I looked around to see hundreds of bees in the sand. They had built a nest nearby in the base of a rock and a hotel worker was trying to kill them by covering them with sand... Not a great plan.

As I thought about this in class, I remember that it felt offensive. I was enjoying the stillness, the relaxation. True, I stepped on the bee so technical…