Summary: Second in this series on how we speak.
How We Talk
Part 2 – Speaking the Truth in Love
April 18, 2010
Last week I mentioned that I had found a statistic that the average person spends 10 years of their life talking.
And my guess is that some of you, on hearing that, some of you thought something like, “You don’t know my Aunt Gertrude – we’re not talking 10 years – we’re talking 30 years. She just can’t shut up to save her life…”
And whether that’s accurate or not that we speak for ten years, there is no denying that all of us talk a lot, even if we don’t talk a lot at one time.
And so it’s vitally important that we talk in ways that are good, and not evil.
I think that all of us can think of times when we’ve spoken to someone in ways that we regret.
Maybe we needed to say what we needed to say, and they needed to hear it, but we regret it because of the way we said it.
Can anybody else say that with me?
Or maybe someone’s said something to us that we needed to hear, but because of the way they said it to us, we didn’t receive it.
In fact, maybe we got so mad that we decided that whatever they said, we’re just going to blow it off and not deal with whatever it was, because they were a jerk about it.
I’ve been there – how about you?
God: I also mentioned last week that Scripture is filled with teaching about our speech.
God is intimately concerned with come out of our mouths, and the main reason for that is because of what we covered last week, and that is that our mouth speaks from the overflow of our heart, according to Jesus.
And therefore, what we say tells people who we are.
And if what you speak isn’t Christlike and godly, then you need to work on your relationship with Jesus.
If you weren’t here last week, you can listen to the message on the website – I finally got it up on Friday.
Today I want to address another aspect of our speak, and that is speaking the truth in love.
Our passage for today is found in Ephesians 4:15 (NLT) – read this aloud with me:
We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
When I see this verse, I usually think along the lines of telling someone something that they may not want to hear, and so that’s the tack I’m going to take today as we discuss this verse.
And let me remind you once again of the big mirror that’s right here in front of the platform here.
Today’s message has some of the most personal application for me than probably any other message I’ve given, because quite frankly, I fail in this area more than I care to admit.
And I’ve already told my family that they may not say “Amen” at any time during this message when I’m referencing myself.
I thank God for laying this message on my heart because it allowed Him to speak to me about this stuff as well.
Obviously there are two main parts to this verse and to the issue at hand:
Speaking the truth and speaking it in love.
Let’s talk first about the truth part.
It should go without saying that we should be people who, when confronting someone about something, are truthful, right?
But all too often, in an effort to spare someone’s feelings, people, including Christians are willing to not be completely honest with someone.
I understand that, because I hate conflict as much as anyone – maybe more than anyone here. And I don’t want people mad at me anymore than any of you do.
It’s tempting to be less than truthful or to try and be so careful that we end up bending the truth to the point where it’s unrecognizable.
But folks, we need to be truthful.
Sometimes the truth hurts, but it needs to be said. Would anyone disagree with that?
Would anyone here say that lying – which God calls a sin – is better than telling the truth when someone really needs to hear what’s really going on?
I don’t think so.
The question is how we say it, and that brings us to the second part of this verse and that is speaking the truth in love.
We need to speak the truth – but how you say it is at least as important as what you say.
We need to say it in a way that conveys your love for that person.
Have you have ever been in a situation where someone walks away from a conversation, mad, or sad, and the other person says, “Well, I just told the truth. He is ugly…”