"Then we will no longer be infants, 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. 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.
From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up
in love, as each part does its work." Ephesians 4:14-16 (NIV)
This week we explore how people can cultivate healthy conflict and communication in their relationships through communicating the truth with love and wisdom. Jesus came in grace/love and truth. So, we too are to speak the truth in love. Truth and love coexist. Love connects and truth corrects, just like the rod and staff that David mentions in the book of Psalms. The rod corrects and the staff connects (Psalm 23:4).
Speak with Love
Truth refers to having open communication where both people can communicate their needs, feelings, wishes and opinions. When you love someone, this may require the need to address, challenge, correct or rebuke them at times. When this is the case, these words must be done in love (Proverbs 27:5-6).
The story of the Israelites complaining in the desert is a good illustration. Even though they were receiving daily manna from God, they were still complaining, and it was one of the reasons they did not enter the promised land for 40 years. They were not ready to enter the promised land. They had to mature, to be able to enter God’s promises. Love is a verb and it would not have been loving of God to leave them where they were (1 John 3:18 & 1 Corinthians 13:4-7). He spoke the truth to them: Their behaviour needed to change.
Love is the soil that Truth grows in
We need to grow and mature to take hold of God’s promises in our lives. Truth is like seed and love is the soil. Seed grows in soil. Seed on its own cannot grow. Seed and soil co-habitate in partnership. The two need each other. Seed cannot grow in hard surfaces. Correction and admonition should be done in a spirit of love and understanding and cultivated in a loving and nurturing environment where there is the strength of trust and security.
Speak with Wisdom
How do we communicate in truth? With wisdom and good timing (Proverbs 15:23).
When do you deliver truth? When we have a cool head and a hot heart for God - not the other way around.
PRINCIPLES TO GLEAN FROM:
- Cultivate an atmosphere of love with consistency and speak with love. Be empowered by the Holy Spirit to live out this standard of loving people (Galatians 5:22-23 & 2 Timothy 1:7).
- Speaking with Wisdom and Truth, means dealing with issues as they arise (Ephesians 4:26-27), listening calmly (James 1:19) and communicating well with words and being aware of our body language. Be quick to say sorry and to forgive (Colossians 3:13).
Thereby, being able to confront well, grow up into mature believers and give grace and not judgement. Our connect groups and relationships will then flourish and be filled with this atmosphere.
Something to talk about:
- What does it look like to have God’s love in how I treat people?
- What are some practical ways I can better communicate in truth and love?
- How can my connection with God overflow into my relationships with others?