“Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15) I know we’re to speak the truth in love, but the big question in my mind is what does that look like?
In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus told the Pharisees they were wrong for following their traditions instead of the Word of God. Toward the end of His monologue He even called them hypocrites. Those don’t seem to be ideas that the Pharisees would find endearing, do they?
“Then the disciples came to him and asked, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?’” (Matthew 15:12).
Think about this scenario for a moment. If the disciples found it necessary to ask Jesus if He realized the Pharisees were offended, then it seems apparent that His words (and, perhaps more importantly, His tone and voice inflection) were not obviously and intentionally offensive. Jesus wasn’t just trying to just blast them. He was not endeavoring to display His superiority.
Throughout His ministry, Jesus personified “speaking the truth in love.” He loved the Pharisees, just like He loves you and me. So He spoke the truth to them, but in such a way much that even seemingly harsh words were not emphatically injurious.
Could you and I do the same? Could we actually speak the truth in such a loving way? Could we truly emulate Jesus?