Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15
Sociologist John Hutchinson, of Columbia University, has written, “By the time word reaches the fourth person, a message is likely to contain no more than five percent of the whole story.”
Truth was terribly distorted at the trial of Jesus, where it was said He wanted to destroy the holy temple in Jerusalem. As a matter of fact, He was speaking of the resurrection of the body. False rumors are apt to start when a statement is misunderstood or wrongly interpreted. The English courts distinguish between truth as it is spoken and truth as it is heard. Because we are fallible human beings, we ought always to speak plainly and listen carefully, lest we do someone an injustice.
In love we refrain from uttering untruth. So also in the same love we speak the truth – the truth of correction – when the situation requires it. Jesus is the Truth personified. He not only spoke but also did the truth, fulfilling the work the heavenly Father had given Him to do. He is more than our Exemplar; He is the Enabler of truth-speaking, giving us the willingness and power to speak the truth in love.
Speaking the truth in love, of course, has a reverse side, and that is to speak untruth in malice. It is especially sinful to do this behind a brother’s or sister’s back. Saint James reminds us, “Brothers, do not slander one another” (James 4:11). Speaking the truth in love is an essential part of the fulfillment of our Lord’s Word, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19).
PRAYER: Lord God, help me to avoid speaking evil of my neighbor. Help me speak the truth in love. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)