Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. – Ephesians 4:25
“Well it’s true.” or “It’s the truth.” I’ve said it, you’ve probably said it too. It’s usually the follow-up to someone having said something not very nice about someone. It may very well be true that Bill-Jo’s sister-in-law is as trustworthy as Judas turned out to be but that doesn’t mean we are charged to judge. In fact, the Bible tells us specifically we are not to. Jesus showed us how easy we are to point fingers at so-and-so when the teachers of law and the Pharisees brought an adulterous woman before Him and asked Him what He would say where the law of Moses commanded them to stone her. Jesus spoke directly to them saying, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one the men left until Jesus was the only one there with her. He asked her where are those who would condemn her. She responded that no one was there.Then Jesus did what He does the best, He gave her grace when He was the only one who could condemn her and then He told her to leave her life of sin (John 8:3-11.)
Truth Should be Spoken
It’s a fine line you know, speaking the truth. You have to find a way to do it with gentleness (Galatians 6:1). We should certainly speak up when we know something is not true. That doesn’t mean berating someone. It means speaking why you disagree and giving a sound argument not based in emotion but fact. I’ve said this more than once because I can’t stand seeing it happen. If you feel something is not truth, especially about God and you allow it to continue then you are an accessory to spreading false testimony. That’s harsh but true and I do say it in love because I love Jesus and I cannot stand someone speaking ill of my Savior. It is the same for any situation in which you stand by willingly and allow something to happen. Adam did it, man fell. Aaron did it and both he and Moses never entered the Promised Land.
Jesus did not. He would not. Instead he placed Himself between our eternity of separation from God and made a way for us through His sacrifice. His truth set us free.
Truth and Intentions
Why do we speak the truth? Is it because a fact needs to be spoken or do we have ulterior motives? There is a fine line there because we cannot turn a blind eye to the acts of others but we have to figure out why we are going to confront them and what our motives are for doing so. When Jesus rebuked the Pharisees in Matthew 23:1-39 He was clear in His intentions. The Pharisees had become a group of men who sought the adoration of society and the power of position. They had yoked Israel under Mosaic law but were not practicing it themselves. Jesus was bold and did so right in the Temple, what awesome courage and strength!
His intention was for the people to throw off the burden of man and take up the burdens that God actually wanted man to bear. Our burdens are light (Matthew 11:28-30) compared to what Christ carried and yet His intentions always are pure. Ours are tainted by our desires and wants. When we understand that the ministry that Jesus laid down was based in love because of God’s truthful desire to make us all His children it is really humbling. He created everything and we have spat on His Son, we have beaten Him, we have mocked Him and ultimately killed Him for one thing and one thing alone. Fear of the truth.
Fear is a terrible thing for us humans. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that the spirit God gave us was one of power and love and self-control. If we have the strength of God in our will there is nothing left to fear. We lie because we fear. When we lie we do not speak love we speak venomous things. We are slow to hear, quick to speak and quick to anger. When we speak truth we need to do so with compassion and understanding. Things we say may not be easy to digest even if they are true. If you speak a lie you can hurt someone but if you speak a hard truth without the love of Christ you can wound someone far deeper. People get angry about lies and can become hurt but I can attest that someone the truth hurts deeper than any lie. We are victims of that treatment and we have treated others the same way.
Our greatest commandments are of love. Recite that to yourself before your lips open. You’ll find that your words are different than what you expected them to be.