Speaking the Truth In Love

Lectio Divina: Ephesians 4:15-16

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows, and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Ever heard the phrase, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”? That maxim comes from Albert Mehrabian’s research based on the 7%-38%-55% rule that suggests only 7% of all communication is done through verbal communication. Most of our communication is nonverbal: the tonality of our voice, our body language, and facial expressions. 

As followers of Christ, how we communicate the truth matters. 

When Paul wrote the words: “speaking the truth in love,” the Ephesian church was struggling. The Apostle spent more time in this church than any other church he started. (Acts 19:8-10) The city’s history was full of political conflicts, wars, economic instability, and religious and cultural diversity. The Ephesian church struggled to create cohesive unity amid great diversity. A challenge today’s church also faces. The key to church growth is “speaking the truth in love.” 

Regarding relationships in the Body of Christ, truth must come from the heart. When truth is spoken in and out of love, a bond is created between those who speak and those who hear the truth. What we say matters, but how we say it reflects the value we place on our relationships. Being right never outweighs loving right. Love is the atmosphere where truth flourishes. It’s the environment where relationships grow, mature, and thrive.

  • Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) 
  • Simon Peter said, “You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.” (1 Peter 1:22) “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) 
  • Paul’s advice to the Galatians expresses this same truth: “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.” (Galatians 6:1) To the Roman church, he said, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.” (Romans 12:9 NLT)
  • The Apostle John wrote, “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” (1 John 3:18 NLT)

Prayer: Father, I confess my lack of love in the way I speak the truth. Forgive me for wanting to be right more than I want to be kind. Remind me that truth never tramples on relationships and that how I communicate is as important as what I communicate. Let your love for people motivate me to speak the truth with compassion, mercy, and tenderness. May my conversations always be full of grace and always be seasoned with love, so that the truth I speak never contradicts the truth I live.

Published by Larry Doyle

Larry began his ministry as a pastor in Kentucky, his native state, while completing his undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degrees. (1968–1979) From 1980 to 1992, He and his wife, Becky, served in Ecuador, as missionaries with the International Mission Board. Upon returning to North Carolina, Larry pastored the Union Cross Hispanic Baptist Church in Kernersville from 1992 to 1999. In January of 2000, Larry and Becky became volunteer coordinators for Baptist on Mission in Honduras, rebuilding house and churches after the destruction of Hurricane Mitch. Upon returning from Honduras in December 2000, Dr. Doyle became the International Ministries Director for Baptist Metrolina Ministries in Charlotte, NC. In September 2003, He and Becky moved to Greensboro, where he served as Director of Missions for the Piedmont Baptist Association in Greensboro, NC until May 2016. Although retired from vocational missionary service, Larry continues to mentor and disciple men. Currently, he is pastor for Spiritual Formation and Discipleship at Proximity Church in Greensboro, NC.

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