Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tuesday Toss-up

Were you able to read Jeana's post about Speaking the Truth in Love? How about Lauren's two follow-up posts, A Crucial Element, and I Woke Up This Morning?

These two women have written very powerful posts, and I highly encourage you to go read them ... and then ... COME BACK, because their posts spurred thoughts in my little head, and I'd like to get your feed back for this Tuesday Toss Up!

As I read Jeana's post, and then Lauren's follow-ups, here are some of the random thoughts I was collecting:

1) We must strive for unity in the body of Christ
2) There must be spiritual maturity
3) It must be the Spirit's truth, not man's truth
4) It must be done with deep, lay-your-life-down love
5) We must live out the truth

Yes. I agree with all this. But something just kept twittering in the back of my mind. How does a person define speaking truth in love? What would it look like, sound like?

That's when this scripture caught in my heart...

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Colossians 3:12-17

Ahhhh -- that's where my question was answered ... and I'll share it with you ... tomorrow...

But for now, keeping in mind that we are all from different faiths, and that we will all have different "theological understandings and beliefs", when it all comes down to it, we are the BODY OF CHRIST. One Body. One Christ. So with that in mind, I am asking you to answer this question from your heart...

How do YOU define speaking truth in love?

And, what would it look like, sound like?

(notice I didn't say: what would it feel like, because honestly, receiving truth in your life is not always sweet and nice like a bowl full of jelly beans)


Heather Smith said...

First off, thanks for directing me to these posts, they were awesome! Definitely things I need to think on.
Now to answer your questions.
My definition of speaking the truth in love is to share the Word of God (not the doctrine of Heather), and to share it because you have a true, God-sent love for someone's soul or for someone's reputation.
The truth in love to me can sound different ways, for instance, a pastor may speak the truth in love from the pulpit, some may feel their toes have been stepped on, but when you know the pastor has a true heart for the congregation, you will take an inward look at your life and pray and ask God to help you change.
When I speak the truth in love, I definitely want to show the person that this is something God has led me to share with them.
I also think that it is very important to know when you are NOT the right person to speak out. I've been in that situation before. Someone I loved dearly was going through something, but God made it very clear that I was not the one to go to her. It was hard because watching from the side-lines I saw her in pain. I definitely think that speaking the truth in love is something that we should pray about and pray about.
I don't know if any of that made sense, but these are some of my random thoughts anyway!

Stacey said...

I had to think about this one for a little while. I did read both of their posts on speaking the truth and living out the truth in love.

To me, speaking the truth in love means sharing what God has laid on your heart to share. You may not feel completely comfortable telling the person what needs to be said. That's why God often asks us to step out of our comfort zone! Pray and allow God to speak through you! Be honest and gentle but don't back down. Be encouraging, understanding and forgiving knowing that we all make mistakes. Give the person a chance to explain their side without jumping in with yours. Pray together if the other person is willing to. Be the witness you need to be and trust God to handle the rest!!

PEZmama said...

I think speaking the truth in love entails all the things that have been mentioned already. But it also includes an acknowledgment of how the other person might feel to be hearing it. And it must be scriptural too. It might sound like this: "I know this is difficult to hear, and it's difficult for me to say, but God's Word says...."

That example would be done one-on-one where no one else was able to hear the conversation.

I do have trouble speaking the truth (in love) when I am in a group. Sometimes conversations, even amongst Christians, go in a direction where the whole group is nodding in affirmation to something that is clearly not scriptural.

For example, a group of women I was talking with were listening to a sister in Christ explain how she was going to tell off another woman who wore Christian T-shirts, but never acted kindly towards her. No one said a word. (Perhaps because they didn't know what to say.) Some chuckled.

I simply said "please don't do that," in a lighthearted tone. I don't know if that was the right thing to say. Maybe I should have spoken specific scripture but, in a group of people, I thought that might be a bit humiliating for that woman. So I left it there.

There have, however, been a lot of other times I have been caught in such conversations that I don't know what to say at all.

I don't know if that makes sense, but that's all I got.

Lauren said...

I'm looking forward to what you have to say GiBee, forget my opinion.

Lyric said...

Thought provoking subject for sure and very important if we are seeking to build authentic and accountable relationships that please the Father.

For me, speaking the truth in love requires I put myself in the other person's shoes. My approach must flow out of the reality that we all are sinners, saved by grace, loved intensely and equally by the Father.

Maintaining a position of humility is essential for words of truth to be well received. Humility will help the individual know that you have their best interest at heart, that the motivation is not one of judgement, arrogance, or self serving.

Julie said...

Whenever I feel it necessary to speak the truth in love to anyone, I first of all do several things.

1. Pray. Hard.
2. I ask the Lord to remove the log from my own eye, so that I can see the situation more clearly.
3. I check my attitude so that I am not responding in anger or offense.
4. I ask the Lord for gentleness. There have been times that I have received correction that has been SO biblical and gentle; it spared my dignity and was done in love. I have resolved to make every effort to do the same.

Galations 6:1 says "Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual-who are responsive to and controlled by the Holy Spirit-should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourelf, lest you should be tempted also."

Robin said...

I haven't read their posts yet (at least not today; I might've read 'em on my own, but I won't know that til I'm done commenting--for now, I'm catching up with YOU! :) ).

My first thought was "relationship". People with whom I'm in relationship know my motive, my heart when I speak this kind of truth, the hard, difficult, sometimes rebuking truths. It is not self serving, it is not in condemnation and judgment, it is a genuine concern for their (eternal and temporal well being). Those times when I've "gotten it right" (not in my own strength or knowledge, but through the direction of the Holy Spirit in me), it has been evident by the response. There is not a defensiveness; or sometimes, perhaps a bit, b/c the truth can hurt, but it's received rightly. And when it's of the Lord, transformation begins to occur.

Again, not b/c of anything I've done or said, but because the love of God COMPELS change.

btw, I loved your post, gonna go read some more.