Do you have somebody in your life who loves you enough to speak the truth to you, even when you don’t want to hear it? Do you sometimes struggle to know when or how to correct another person? Perhaps you’ve tried in the past and been rejected, and you’re worried that the same thing will happen again.
In our society, speaking the truth in love is not a popular thing to do, but the Bible makes it clear that only by speaking the truth in love will we be able to grow into maturity in Christ. In this episode David speaks very practically about how we can speak the truth in love in a way that honours God and serves others.
1. What most impacted you about Episode 7?
2. Can you describe a time when a person spoke the truth to you in love? Did it feel like love in the moment? How do you feel about it now?
3. What holds you back from speaking the truth in love to others? Have you had bad experiences with this, or are you sometimes afraid that people will reject you? How will you change your approach going forward?
4. Have you ever resisted God when He’s tried to speak the truth in love to you? Have you sometimes misunderstood His correction or discipline, forgetting that He disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6)?
Action Point: Spend a few moments saying sorry to God for the times you tried to speak the truth to another person but may have done it in the wrong way, at the wrong time or with the wrong motive. Forgive anybody who has hurt you by their response – either by rejecting you, rejecting God or rejecting His love and truth. Ask God to give you a soft but confident heart so that you can speak the truth in love to others in a way that will honour them and Him.
hey guys and welcome back to this series on the power of words we’re now in episode seven and in this episode i want to talk about speaking the truth in love and when i was about 16 years old i met a man who was willing to speak the truth to me in love and i know that i would not be the person that i am today if i had not met him and if he had not been willing to do that i have grown in christ and matured in a way that would not have been possible without somebody like that in my life and i want to start by saying this when you find someone in your life that is willing to correct you i mean somebody who loves you enough to tell you what you don’t want to hear i want to encourage you not to back away from that person but actually to stay close to that person because you probably need that person in your life much much more than you realize you see we live in a society that thinks that loving others means letting them do whatever they want to do and never saying anything that upsets them but what’s the problem with that well the problem with that is the bible says in proverbs 14 12 that there is a way that appears to be right or a way that seems right to us but in the end it leads to death so what appears right or what seems to be right to us is often not right at all and it can be quite a dangerous path that we think is the right path for us and sometimes we simply need somebody to say something to us now imagine if you were sitting close to the edge of a cliff and you saw a blind person with a white stick walking towards the edge of the cliff and you knew that if that person kept going it was going to be certain death well if you loved that person you would say something to them now if you hated that person you might think oh i’m just going to keep quiet here and let them walk off the cliff but actually that would have to be some really serious hatred to let that happen and so our society has kind of told us that we can’t correct someone who is in sin or or someone who is blind to the destruction that their behavior is causing because to love somebody is to let them do whatever they want now we might be using the word love but actually if that’s the way we think what we’re actually talking about is not love it’s actually hatred it’s actually what you would do if you wanted that person to fall off that cliff and isaiah 5 20 says woe to those who call evil good and good evil who put darkness for light and light for darkness who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter you see we’ve become so used to this in our society that if somebody tries to correct us we actually think that they are against us perhaps we get offended perhaps we run away perhaps we attack that person verbally perhaps we even cut off the relationship because the reality is we would much rather people just be nice to us and after all if they really loved us surely they would say things that make us feel good about ourselves right that make us feel encouraged that give us self-confidence and and make us feel loved right well we often think that that person’s behavior though or that person’s words cannot be loved because i didn’t feel loved when he or she said that thing well of course there’s a right and a wrong way to correct somebody but even if somebody does it in the right way it might not feel like love and we really need to watch out that we have not bought into the false definition of love that is so prevalent in our society you see the correct motivation for correction is actually love and proverbs 27 verses 5 to 6 says this better is open rebuke than hidden love wounds from a friend can be trusted but an enemy multiplies kisses and of course it’s hard for us to think about rebuking or correcting someone that we laugh because we know that we’re running the risk of them rejecting us and of course like i said there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it and in a few minutes we’re going to look at how to speak the truth in love i’m actually going to give you a framework for that at the end of this episode but i want to encourage you with this proverbs 28 verse 23 says this whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue so we’ve established that the motivation for correction is love is true love but that doesn’t mean that we can just start correcting everybody around us based on what we think is right or because we think they should change or we think that it would be nicer if their behavior was like this actually we need to understand the basis or the correct basis for correction look at this in second timothy 3 16-17 it says all scripture is god-breathed and is useful for teaching rebuking correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of god may be thoroughly equipped for every good work so actually we can’t be thoroughly equipped without being rebuked and corrected on the basis of scripture so the basis for correction is absolute truth which is found in god’s word absolute truth is the idea that there is an objective right and wrong that this isn’t just my opinion or your opinion this really is right and this really is wrong and of course if there is no such thing as right or wrong if we define our own truth then actually there’s no place for correction but the word correction itself implies that there is something that is correct and so when the bible says that we should correct others it’s saying that if a person’s lifestyle does not line up with what is written here that a christian life should look like in scripture then we are to correct them on the basis of what is correct and of course if there really is an all-powerful god who loves us and who has given us guidelines for living so that we can get the very best out of this life jesus called it life to the full then why would anybody want to reject what he says well the reason we often reject absolute truth is simply because our human nature is sinful we are rebellious by nature we don’t want to be told what to do so of course for the human race it’s much easier if we just decide to do away with absolute truth and just to pretend that it doesn’t exist because then we can just do whatever we want but what happens when we do that when in john 8 jesus said this says to the jews who had believed in him jesus said if you hold to my teaching you are really my disciples then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free so i just want to say this and i want you to remember this where there is no absolute truth there is absolutely no freedom i’m going to say that again where there is no absolute truth there is absolutely no freedom and of course many people in our world are deceived about what true love is and they’re deceived about what will bring them true freedom you see true love speaks the truth and the truth brings freedom of course the truth is not only words the truth is a person jesus brings freedom and when we speak the words of jesus sometimes they’re challenging but they’re the only thing that can bring freedom into our lives so let’s get practical now so first of all i want to give you some tips on how to receive correction well and then i want to give you some tips on how to speak the truth in love in the right way so let’s talk about receiving correction i think that we should always have our hearts open i think we should always be humble and teachable and ready to receive correction but i also think that we need to be careful you see there may be people who will try to correct you who do not have your best interests at heart and are not doing it in love they may have other motivations they may not be being led by the holy spirit so just because somebody corrects you doesn’t mean that it’s from god first of all it must come from scripture and i just want to say if don’t try to correct somebody if you don’t have a biblical basis for what you’re saying you should be able to find probably two or three bible verses quite easily if what you’re saying is really god’s truth now if someone corrects us if it’s from god we will feel the conviction of the holy spirit we will probably be cut to the heart like what happened when peter preached the gospel in acts chapter 2 it says that people were cut to the heart and they said what shall we do they had been deeply impacted by what was said so we’ll probably be cut to the heart or somehow in our spirits we will just know that what this person is saying is true and it’s from god and you know sometimes something might be true but it might not be god’s time to deal with it and i just want to remind you that god is in charge of your sanctification process in first peter 1 2 it talks about um those who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of god the father through the sanctifying work of the spirit to be obedient to jesus christ and sprinkle with his blood so it’s saying that sanctification being made holy is a work of the holy spirit and we can trust him with that process actually god is the one who is doing the correction he may not use another person at all but sometimes he will use another person’s words but he will be the one doing the conviction and he will be the one doing the sanctification in you and if you don’t sense that this is him at work you don’t have to receive the words that other people are using to correct you okay let’s look at who we should receive correction from i think god can use anybody to correct us at any moment in our lives but there are certain people in my life who i would probably receive correction from much more easily than others and i think it’s a good idea to pray and to ask god god who are the people that i should openly allow to speak into my life in this season of my life every now and then he might surprise you by speaking through somebody different but generally he will use those who really know you and really love you and and often that will be either close friends or family members and of course correction is best done out of relationship trust and love secondly he will use people in authority over you now that’s much easier if you have a good relationship with that person but often god will use the leaders in our life the people who are in authority over us to correct us and he will even enable them to see things that we don’t see in our own lives and of course we want to respond in a humble way when that happens the other thing is sometimes god will send a prophet somebody with a specific message for you now that might be quite rare that might only happen a few times in your life but be open to god speaking to you in a surprising way through somebody perhaps you’ve never met before and again let’s be listening to the holy spirit god is this from you now how should we respond when somebody corrects us or speaks the truth in love well first of all we should listen to the person i want to encourage you not to try to defend yourself you don’t need to do that now if you’re not sure if what’s being said is from god why don’t you say to god lord i’m open to you putting your finger on that area of my life but would you just please confirm this in another way would you just make it clear that this is really you and if you feel that something really isn’t from god it’s not what god is saying to you it’s not the time then maybe you just need to forgive that person and let it go because sometimes people just get it wrong or they’re correcting you out of a wrong motive now if you believe it is from god ask yourself am i cut to the heart am i sorrowful and if you are repent turn from that thing say god i’m so sorry come before him in humility sometimes it might be clear to us that we need to do something specific or we need to go to someone and apologize for something that we’ve done but of course we need to turn from that sin we need to make a commitment to change our ways and ask god to help us to do that now this is how he transforms us into the image of his son and when you humble yourself and say sorry he’s ready to bring grace into your life to enable you to live differently and actually this is what makes the children of god different from the rest of the world hebrews 12 5 to 6 says my son do not make a light of the lord’s discipline and do not lose heart when he rebukes you because the lord disciplines the one he loves and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son so the fact that god corrects and disciplines us should be a huge encouragement to us and hebrews 12 11 says no discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful later on however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it so let’s not think of correction conviction or discipline as bad words let’s thank god that he is showing his love to us through that correction and let us see it as our opportunity to become more like jesus now let’s talk about speaking the truth in love now perhaps the most obvious issue with this is often we’re afraid that we’re going to offend somebody and that they are going to reject us now i just want to remind you that love is not self-seeking we read that in a previous episode and we need to make sure that we are not thinking about what about doing what is best for us but actually about what is best for the other person perhaps some of us have tried to correct somebody in the past and we’ve had a bad reaction from them and maybe it cost us the relationship and it was deeply painful for us and of course sometimes that is because we didn’t do it so well i’m going to help you with that in a minute but other times it’s simply because it’s not because the person’s rejecting you it’s because the person is rejecting god’s truth and and in that case we have to try not to take it personally we need to take it as part of the cost of following jesus because the person doesn’t have a problem with us actually the person probably has a problem with god we also need to be careful that we don’t let our fear of rejection or our fear of man be greater than our love for one another galatians 1 10 paul the apostle says this he says am i now trying to win the approval of human beings or of god or am i trying to please people if i was still trying to please people i would not be a servant of christ and of course speaking the truth in love is one of the clearest ways that you can serve others and therefore serve jesus and jesus said in john 13 35 by this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another and so if we shrink back out of fear and we stop speaking the truth in love we’ve actually stopped truly loving one another and the world will not be able to recognize that we are his disciples and actually if that wasn’t bad enough if we stop speaking the truth in love we will actually stunt each other’s spiritual growth and the growth of the whole body of christ why do i say that well look at this ephesians 4 15 says instead speaking the truth in love we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head that is christ so if we don’t speak the truth in love we will not grow into maturity in christ and i know it can be scary and it can be uncomfortable but i want to encourage you to really love the people around you as god leads you by speaking the truth in love and let me finish by giving you a framework for how to do this i think that there are four questions that we should ask ourselves before we approach another person and i want to encourage you to write these questions down now each question has another question attached to it but you will understand what i mean in a moment so the first question is this what am i going to say and the question attached to that is is it god’s word the second question we need to ask is why am i going to say it is it god’s heart and we need to stop and ask ourselves has god asked me to do this and for whose benefit am i doing this do i have the right motives here so what am i going to say why am i going to say it the third question is how am i going to say it is it god’s way what i mean by that is are you ready to speak gently and graciously as god would speak to that person and then the fourth question is when am i going to say it is it god’s timing and i just want you to remember this when you do this in the right way it’s not an arrogant thing to do your confidence will not be in yourself or in your opinions but your confidence will be in god and his word because he’s shown you what to say he’s given you the right heart so that you’re saying it for the right reasons he’s showing you how to say it so you’re saying it in the right way and he has led you in the timing of when to say it and sometimes we feel very strongly that we need to correct someone and sometimes it’s because we’re still hurting because their behavior has hurt us sometimes we need to take some time to really forgive that person before it’s the time to go and approach that person and speak to them sometimes once we’ve forgiven them we don’t feel any need whatsoever to speak to them anymore and we just leave their behavior over to god just because somebody’s done something wrong to you does not mean that god is calling you to be the one to correct them but if you do go i want to encourage you to go with his character full of love full of patience gentleness and kindness but go confidently knowing who you are representing and once you’ve said what you need to say what they do with that is their responsibility it’s not yours just walk away knowing that you have been faithful to say what god put on your heart to say and i hear you asking what if they reject me guys i just want to say this if you’re going to be rejected by men for something let it be that you loved them and finally i need to say this that god’s aim with correction is usually to bring healing and freedom to the person that he is correcting because often their wrong behavior is rooted in lies that they believe or wounds that they’ve suffered if you want to be prepared by god to be used by him to bring deep healing and freedom to others i want to encourage you to watch the next few episodes of this series because i’m going to give you lots of keys into that now let’s pray together father i just want to thank you that you have filled us with your love and you have filled us with your truth and i pray that you would give each one of us wisdom in how to speak the truth in love that the people around us might experience the correction that you want to bring the healing and freedom that comes from that and father that we would grow into maturity as the body of christ in jesus name amen and i’ll see you in episode 8.