Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Speaking the Truth in Love

So ... what does that mean to me?

Well, there are so many scriptures that instruct us on how to speak to each other, how to treat each other, how to love each other, how to keep/maintain peace with each other. And you can take one scripture and glean many tidbits of truth from it.

But I saw the scripture I referred to yesterday (Col. 3:12-17) and saw a LOT of tidbits ...

First of all, we are God's chosen people. Holy. Dearly loved. And it lays out a road map on what we need to be as God's chosen people: Compassionate. Kind. Humble. Gentle. Patient. Forgiving. Loving.

So, in my mind, if I were to define speaking truth in love, it would most certainly have to be with a humble spirit, tendered with compassion, kindness, and a whole lot of gentleness. I think if I were to approach someone with truth, I would need to be certain that the Holy Spirit was really prompting me, rather than my own feelings or dislike for someone's behavior or mannerisms. Also, I need to be sure that I am bathed in the Word of God.

I think many times, people can come and say something to us in "love," but a lot of times, it's not the "what" it's the "how" that the message is delivered in ... you know ... that saying your mom or dad probably said to you? It's not what you say, it's how you say it.

But whatever I say or do, I need to remember that I do it all in the name of Jesus. Both unsaved and saved people watch us. They want to see that we are truly "different" in action, not just because we say we are. And there is a big difference to how a Christian should approach things vs. a worldly approach.

I guess I always need to remember how I would feel, were the shoes reversed. How would I want to be treated? With respect. With gentleness. With kindness. Tenderness. Softness. Without judgment. And, those are all things I see in the way Jesus treated people throughout the New Testament... so therefore, it would make sense to pattern my behavior after him.

A Pastor's wife once told me that she always asks a person before she speaks truth into their life. For instance, if she feels led by the Holy Spirit to speak into "jo-anna-blo's" life, she will say, "Jo-anna-blo, I feel like the Holy Spirit has laid a word on my heart for you. Would you allow me to speak it to you?" That automatically open's Jo-anna-blo's ears up, her mind and hopefully, her heart. And if she says no, then she would not have been receptive, and quite possibly, the timing may have been wrong. I always thought that was an interesting approach.

It is hard not to tromp all over a person with holy righteousness, all in the name of the Lord, and of course, truth. Sometimes, I find myself sounding very self righteous. I really need to constantly be on guard about that.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say, in a long, round-about way, is... just because what I am saying is truth, doesn't mean that my method of delivery is always loving, kind, gentle, etc. Boy, that sure does leave me with a whole lot of room for growth! I thank the good Lord that he is forgiving and loving whenever I tromp through like a bull in a china shop.

I really need to begin practicing being a combination of a gentle rabbit and a graceful gazelle. Hey -- A rabazelle!

I'm a rabazelle. I'm a rabazelle. I'm a rabazelle.

Yeah. Gotta work on that one.


Shalee said...

As I read through this fabulous post, I kept thinking about how this applies to my parenting behaviors. Aren't I supposed to speak the truth in love to my children only to find myself yelling at one of them in anger? Oh, what a humbling thought indeed.

Can I be a rabazelle in training too? I really need to become more like Christ in SO. MANY. WAYS.

If I can give you any advice as a young mom, GiBee, it would be this: Never leave a toddler and a marker alone together in the same room. No, no... I really would say this: Be slow to anger and quick to love, peppering all your words with patience, kindness, genuine care and active mercy. If I could go back, that is the advice that I would keep in the forefront of my mind. I know I'm kind of off kilter, but that is what really spoke to my heart.

Excellent thoughts my friend. Really usable and God-focused and, as usual, filled with love.

Susanne said...

Awesome post, Gibee! And an excellent comment by Shalee as well! Oh if I could do that part over too!

I always think too, what they told us in a parenting class for teens: Work on and make sure you have a relationship with your teen so that when you do, and you will, need to speak truth to them, you do so from the relationship base. This does make it more palatable and easier to recieve than a parent who has not taken time to develop anything with you other than a disciplinarian relationship always approaching you with what you are doing wrong.

I take that policy to others whom I feel needs truth spoken. Do I have a relationship with them or am I just going in guns blazing to tell them what they are doing wrong? If I can't take the time to get to know them, unless they've specifically asked, or asked for prayer on the subject, I don't feel it's my place.

Barb said...

Very well stated and definitely something I think a lot of us should think about. Probably a whole herd of rabazelles running around out here.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post and a great reminder on how in ALL that we do, we should consider the fact that we are doing so as a Christian. We are modeling Christ's love for our children and others -- what exactly are we showing them? I think I shall join in and be a razabelle too!! :)

Anonymous said...

oops - beta blogger has me all confused, your first anonymous post was from me. i just forgot to sign it -

Dee - All the While

aggiejenn said...

Amen, GiBee. And I'm taking Shalee's advice, too!

Lauren said...

WOnderful post. I love how the pastor's wife approaches it - it's something I'll seriously consider should I be called to speak a hard truth to someone again.

You have such an infectious way about you that I immediately started designing in my head a rabazelle-in-training graphic for our sidebars. :)

momrn2 said...

Another question I challenge myself with before approaching someone is what is my motive? Often times, if I am honest with myself, it all comes down to being about me somehow rather than about being for the benefit of that person. It often does not have them and their best interest in mind.

Asking myself this question has kept me from saying many things that I originally thought I should say, in the love of Christ of course...

Motive is a big thing to evaluate for me.

Stacey said...

I really like the way the pastor's wife handled things when speaking the truth to someone! That's a great way to start out.

Having a two year old, I was thinkg at the very end "What does a rabazelle say?" Gentle and Kind truths.

I think I need to get out more!!

Nicole said...

That was a wonderful post. Very well stated. This topic has come up many times in my young adult Bible study. I like the approach the Pastor's wife takes. I tend to do that as well. Thanks so much for writing that!

Chappyswife said...

This post was recommended to me after I posted a huge rant. I can see why now. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. I will try to remember this.

Chappyswife said...

This post was recommended to me after I posted a huge rant. I can see why now. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. I will try to remember this.

BooMama said...

Okay. The pastor's wife's approach? That's some serious wisdom right there. I LOVE THAT. It's gracious and it's merciful - and I will take that little lesson with me for the rest of my days. :-)

Robin said...

I liked your use of humor in this post, you created a whole new creature! A rabazelle? Too funny.

This is a truth-filled challenge almost, for us to evaluate how and what we say BEFORE we actually proceed. Words mean much, and it's sooo important to consider the effect they'll have once "spilled".

Nice follow-up to your previous post.