Truth in Love

Read: Ephesians 4:7-16

During my devotions this week I read this from Ruth Smith Meyer and it reminded me of something that happened when I was a very young boy. She wrote, “When necessary, a sterile needle wielded to remove the sliver in someone’s hand can be painful, even though the healer’s heart is full of love. But with the sliver gone, the ointment applied, and the would lovingly bandaged, there are two grateful hearts.”

Many years ago my family was visiting my aunt and uncle’s house in Iowa when I got a very deep splinter in my hand. As a young boy this was my first experience with the pain and terror of having to have a splinter pricked from my hand. It was so traumatic I still remember it very vividly even today, some 40 years later. If I remember correctly I was screaming and crying as my mom tried to remove that piece of wood from my finger.

As an adult looking back I am sure that it was just as painful for my mom to have to do that chore while her son was screaming and crying. However, in the end she knew it was the best thing for me. If the splinter were to remain it could cause infection and many other ongoing consequences that might be even worse than the pricking of the needle. She knew that, so in love she endured my kicking and screaming because she knew what was best.

In many ways this story plays out throughout life. Sometimes the things we need to hear are not what we really want to hear. I’m sure my mom told me that it was best to get that splinter out right then and there, but that is not what I wanted to hear, I was focused on the now instead of the then. It is true in our Christian lives as well. Sometimes we need a brother or sister in Christ to speak the truth to us in love.

Too often in our world people choose to speak the truth in other ways that are not helpful. Hate should have no place in the life of a believer even when we disagree on things. The flip-side of that is that too often people do not want to hear the truth even when it is spoken in loving and corrective ways. In Ephesians 4 Paul says that truth spoken in love can help us to grow and mature in our faith in Christ.

Make it personal: The next time someone tries to give you advice or points out something in your life pause and ask, “Is this person trying to speak the truth to me because they love and care about me?” If we approach each other in that manner we will be able to grow and become better instead of becoming instantly offended. If you have to speak the truth to someone do it without pointing a finger and accusing them, do it in love. It’s not easy for sure, but it is a part of being there for each other and being accountable.

Have a wonderful week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church