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  • Writer's pictureMegan Estes

Truth Isn't An Accessory-Learning to Speak Truth With Love

Updated: Feb 3

How can I stand firm in truth without 'offending' or coming off as 'righteous' to loved ones around me living in relative truth? I'm finding that I alone can't, but with God's strength and His Word I CAN speak truth with gentleness and grace. However, truth is often hard to take in even when it's whispered in notes full of love and gentleness. We'd rather our friends tell us that we are doing an amazing job as a parent, versus gently telling us we need to make amends with our kids and ask God for forgiveness. It's easy for me to talk about spiritual truth with spirit-filled friends. It's terrifying and seemingly impossible at times to talk about truth with friends that don't believe absolute truth exists. I don't want to offend, but in this world we are living in the truth can definitely be perceived as offensive cause it's rare. I want to be a good friend and be liked. In the end though since I believe in God and His flawless Word, I need to take Him at His Word that LOVE REJOICES with the TRUTH. Love doesn't hide, avoid, or run away from conversations that are uncomfortable. Loves rejoices in truth.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 New International Version

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

it's loving to speak truth

Giving Freedom to Choose Isn't Actually Loving

I was sitting in the grass at our neighborhood park with a little friend that often comes to talk to me when she can. While I want to be a good listener to this kiddo's life and opinions, I've felt convicted by God to speak hard truths to her when the timing is right because: 1. Truth is loving 2. She is brilliant and can handle it 3. She's actually searching hard for love and truth under the disguise of humor and apathy and I've learned we can have hard conversations together without questioning our friendship

She started the conversation up about current events in her life per the usual. I want her to know she is loved and so of course I pursue her by asking her about herself and how she's doing. The conversation opened up a door to discuss religion. She knows that we are Christians but I'm not quite sure she knows exactly what that means. This little friend started talking about how she has a friend whose parents let her choose whatever religion she wants. They just want her to have a say and not have anything forced on her. At first glance, this sounds 'nice' and maybe even 'loving' to some. But it's not. If we truly believe that something is TRUE then we must follow it with our whole hearts and stand up for it. So in this case, her friends parents seem to believe that truth is relative when it comes to religion. If their daughter has the freedom to choose whatever path she wants, then this means that there is no right path or actual truth to be found.

So I asked my little friend, "is school optional?" Of course she said, "no, everyone has to go." If anyone wanted to just pull their kids out of school and hang out at home for thirteen years there would be consequences. Education is important and not optional. Even when we don't feel like it, the fact of the matter is that we have to go to school. If school is not optional, and this is where we learn basic skills and knowledge for life, how much more important is what we choose to feed our souls and put our faith in? I think this made sense to her. In this case, her friend's parents don't actually believe in any absolute truth. It sounds like her friend's parents are trying to give "freedom to choose" in a way that seems loving, but it's actually the opposite. My little friend then suggested to me that I might get upset if someone just told me that Christianity wasn't true, so she liked the freedom of choice. I heard her heart. Her heart is wanting to accept and love everyone no matter what they believe--and she's been poisoned with the lie that "accepting and loving others means we acknowledge their "truths" as "true." I gently told her that we can disagree with others and still love one another. Today our world says that if I disagree with you then I'm not tolerant or I might even be a bigot. But that's not true. We can love each other and still disagree with one another. Just ask anyone who is married! LOL! While our conversation wasn't extremely long I do think about it often. I pray that my little friend will one day know how precious and loved she is by her heavenly Father. And I pray that in the meantime she knows that we are a safe family to hang with that won't judge her or cast her aside because of our different beliefs. We will do our best to walk the skinny tightrope of love and truth within our friendship with one another, and err on grace.

absolute truth exists

Absolute Truth is Absolutely Everything

Truth isn't relative. It's not an opinion or feeling. You may seem strange to friends who have bought into the "truth is relative" scheme. Truth is universal whether we choose to believe it or not. If someone is color blind and can't tell that the sky is blue, that doesn't mean that "their truth" is that the sky isn't blue. It simply means that they can't see it, even though it exists and is the ultimate reality. Whether we want to believe in or put our trust in something we can't see is called, faith. In this instance, the blind person can either choose to live in their own relative reality or accept grounded reality in truth from everyone around them (that can see) that the sky really is blue.

Our faith, what we believe, what we filter everything in our life through is our worldview. Our faith isn't some accessory to be changed with the latest fads. Your faith (whether you believe it or not) influences every lifestyle decision you make:

your belief in right from wrong,

how you spend our finances, time, and talents,

how you treat others,

what you do, where you go, and who you go with,

what you teach your children,

and mostly how you live!

Everyone has a faith. Most people today tend to put themselves on the throne in their own lives--they are their own god. Whatever they feel is real, or whatever opinion they have at the time becomes what they would call, "their truth." THEY get to decide what is right from wrong--which changes over time. As emotional beings it's dangerous to live by our own ever changing emotional roller coaster of relative truth. We actually CRAVE absolute truth cause we were created for it! Satan has taken what is good and pure and twisted it to look like the most satisfying meal ever! We'd rather let people live out "their truth" than tell them they are riding into the path of an oncoming freight train. Truth is loving. My little three year old sometimes thinks that the world revolves around him and that he won't get hit by a car. It isn't loving for me to say, "okay go ahead and run in the street, I know you feel that is the right way to go right now." NO! IT IS LOVING for me to grab his hand and yank him back to the sidewalk out of the path of the oncoming teenage speeding driver texting that could care less if my little guy is in his way. Sometimes truth can seem harsh and even hurt--but that's only when we wander so far from it that coming back to truth and reality can feel like a mom grabbing you by neck of your shirt and yanking you back from the street.

only love today

How Do I 'Look Like Love' to Friends Who Don't Acknowledge Truth? Speaking Truth in Love Takes Practice

My people pleaser personality can often kick in when I come up against strong opinions I have nothing in common with and feel intimidated to share truth with. BUT, my love for people outweighs the discomfort. I HAVE to speak when I feel convicted by God to share truth. Other times I HAVE to hold my tongue because there are no ears to hear and the best thing I can do for certain relationships at certain times is listen and live a life pointing to Christ. I adore my little neighborhood friend who is hungry for truth. I've learned over the last few years that speaking truth to her hasn't scared her away, it's often made her hungry for more (at least I think) because she keeps coming back and guiding the conversation to hard places.

Every situation and relationship is different. But they all require radical grace and love shown through speaking truth at some point in the relationship. Here are some things I've had to work on, accept, and also pray about when my heart is heavy asking God, "how do I love this person towards you?"

  1. Remember it's God who saves, not me. This takes the pressure off! Often when we care so deeply about someone and how to share truth with them we can obsess about what to do and even shame ourselves for not perfectly presenting the gospel. If someone is going to choose Christ it's because they've opened their eyes and ears, not because you were perfect in loving them. He does the saving, we do the sharing.

  2. Keep Inviting. My job as a believer is to keep inviting others to the table to feast upon God's truth and goodness. I keep pulling out chairs. I don't want to judge whether someone will receiver the invitation or not, but just keep inviting.

  3. Keep pursuing relationship. Sometimes when we see others hurting we want to lead them to the ultimate healer and life-giver. But they don't always want that. We need to be okay loving and serving others that may never accept Truth. God will let you know when it's time to let people go, until then just be faithful in loving them well.

  4. Remember all people are "imago dei." Every person is created with inherent value because they are made in the image of God. On the days when relationships are frustrating or seem futile ask God to help you see people as He sees them.

  5. Speak When Spirit Prompts. I fail at this often. It's hard to know sometimes if I should speak or remain silent in certain situations. When I remember to pray during those hard conversations I often feel stronger and more aware of what is the next best step. Literally I'll be praying silently while talking to someone and asking God to show me when to speak. I want to be loving but not compromise on speaking what is true and right--this is a lifelong tension to manage.

  6. Pray and Be Ready. Prayer truly does change things. It opens my eyes to what is really going on in certain situations, and it softens my heart towards people with holy compassion. When I'm praying and alert in relationships I see more opportunities for sharing truth and serving others. When I'm not intentional with an eternal mindset I can get wrapped up in my own situation, assumptions, and worldly things. Prayer keeps my heart focused on the big picture and not discouraged throughout all the little rejections and failures that happen within relationships.

Prayer for my truth-seeking friends:

God I pray that you would continue to reveal yourself to those that are seeking You. We live in a time where our loved ones have everything, and yet are starving spiritually because they don't have you. Please help us to stand firm on your truth in our own hearts and homes, and then prepare us for relationships that you want to us to speak truth into. Give us wisdom to know when and how to speak, and courage for when the time comes. Forgive us for being afraid to stand up for truth and often caring more about what others might think or letting fear overcome us. We know this life is fleeting and momentary. Help us see all people as your children and to guide them towards you with loving kindness, grace, patience, and truth spoken in humility. Amen

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