What does "speaking the truth in love" mean?
The cartoon is a google translate box. In the “Christianese Detected” side, it says, “I need to speak the truth to you… in love.” On the “English Translation” side, it says, “I’m about to say something really mean to you.”
WHAT DOES ‘SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE’ MEAN?
Whenever, and I mean whenever, someone said this to me, it always always always meant I wasn’t going to like what I was about to hear.
The writer of Ephesians, where this verse is found, originally meant talking about theology! The writer was warning against false doctrine, fake news, and the importance and necessity of speaking truth.
Instead of speaking deceitfully to fulfill selfish agendas, we speak truthfully to achieve maturity in everyone and the community.
Behind all this truth is the motivation of love. Love speaks truth that contributes to spiritual growth and community health.
Personal growth. Community health.
Instead, “speaking the truth in love” is now code for nosey people to tell everybody else how to live their lives.
As a pastor, how I applied this practically was by teaching with love, compassion, patience, grace, hope, and empathy, so that everyone could feel they had all the freedom, room, time, and motivation they needed to grow and mature themselves.
It’s not a license to nitpick people’s lives.