When we speak the truth, people tend to react one of three ways:
- they accept what we're saying and, if necessary, take any necessary actions;
- they deny what we're saying, sometimes by a flat-out denial, sometimes by avoidance of the issue or avoidance of the person speaking truth;
- they justify their version of the truth in an attempt to make you think the truth you speak isn't correct.
When we speak truth, even when doing it with the utmost love and respect, it may still hurt.
When we speak the truth in love, it sometimes makes us an outcast - folks don't want to hear the truth, so they avoid people who speak it.
People want honesty - until they don't. They want honesty, until it forces them to face the truth about themselves, their situation, or their loved ones.
Sometimes I feel like God has made me the way I am so that I can speak truth to people. I don't like it at times - most of the time, in fact. Not because I don't want to speak truth, but because I don't want to cause pain or trouble. And most of the time, when I feel God nudging me to speak the truth to someone about something - I know it's going to cause pain for that person and strife between us in the relationship.
I recently found myself in a difficult situation. In a group setting, I became aware of some things that weren't very positive. Instead of speaking out and causing problems for those involved - and those I care about, I bottled my emotions inside, and when bedtime rolled around, I was so bottled up, I couldn't sleep. But I continued to keep my mouth shut the next day as things continued to happen. When everyone had gone on their merry way, I finally had a discussion with someone, alerting them to what was happening. The tension was palpable, and my speaking the truth in love was not received very well.
But I said what had to be said.
Speaking the truth is not always easy.
"We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love." ~ Ephesians 4:14-16 (NASB)