A Few Ways to Check Your Heart before “Speaking the Truth in Love”

We are told in Ephesians 4:15 that the body of Christ becomes more mature when we learn to speak the truth in love to one another. This is how we grow up and no longer act like infants in our relationships. Yet, we often avoid this command because it is a difficult thing to do. Sometimes we rationalize it away by saying we don’t want to offend anyone. And doesn’t that sound pious? Or, we say, “I’m waiting for my heart to be right before I go say what needs to be said.” Again, that sounds good and noble. In the end, though, it is simply disobedience.

The problem is we never quite feel it’s the right time to go have that difficult conversation. And so, we leave unsaid the thing that might help someone recognize sin or error, or the thing we need to say to restore relationship. And the whole body of believers suffers as a result.

It is interesting that the verses prior to this text use the imagery of being “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” (NIV). That’s exactly how this mind game we play with ourselves feels. The only way to relieve the tug-of-war in our thinking is to put on our big kid pants and follow God’s instructions. Otherwise, we are actually being deceitful and possibly resorting to “alternative actions” (Sounds better than “schemes,” doesn’t it?).

Those schemes are so appealing, though, and they too can seem justified. I’ll just go talk with my pastor about it instead. Or, I’ll just make it a matter of prayer.

Last week, I received a text from a friend who was struggling with this. I summarized for her the things I do to check my heart before going to someone to speak the truth I believe needs to be spoken. Below is the transcript of that conversation. Hope it helps the next time you are considering whether or not you are actually ready to speak the truth … in love.

Please excuse the poor grammar and punctuation. This conversation took place at 4:30 am (she's one of my night owl friends).

Please excuse the poor grammar and punctuation. This conversation took place at 4:30 am (she’s one of my night owl friends).











How about you? Do you have any “heart checks” you use before going to someone to resolve an issue?

2 thoughts on “A Few Ways to Check Your Heart before “Speaking the Truth in Love”

  1. I’d ask:
    1.) Is our relationship strong enough to allow for this sort of conversation? It’s difficult for people to accept advice if they don’t consider you a close friend who cares for their well-being. If you’re not at that point, then you shouldn’t carry out such a conversation.
    2.) Am I relatively free from this issue? Or to be more Biblical, “Have I removed the plank from my eye so I can clearly see the mote in my brother’s (or sister’s) eye?” The point is to avoid hypocrisy by saying one thing and doing another. That way there is no distraction from the issue that you’re trying to resolve.
    3.) Have I prayed about this, sought out guidance, and have all the facts? Some of the worst confrontations happens for a lack of any combination of these things. Somebody once called me out on the use of the word “negro” but they didn’t know I was saying the color “black” in Spanish. They thought I was being racist. I was simply describing an object that was the color black.
    If you are a good, close friend who cares about their well-being, then you have the “love” part down. Then they will be more receptive to hearing the truth from you because it’s not about getting applause for saving a wayward brother (or sister) but because it’s about them. So long as you walk in love, you won’t have to worry about being judgmental or coming across as pious. It is better to take your time to do it right than to rush into it and get it all wrong. In the mean-time, you can study how Paul confronted Peter or some of the other confrontations in Scripture to see how they got it right or how they got it wrong.


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