Daily Devotion 20 March 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Ephesians 4:15,25 ‘Speaking the Truth to One Another’

15 Speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. 25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another.

The devotion by Rev. Paul a while ago about ‘the customer is always right’ brought back an amusing memory from the past. My brother-in-law, a good-looking and fit young man, went to buy a new suit. The first one he tried on was badly cut and looked altogether wrong. “Oh, that’s perfect Sir” enthused the obsequious salesman. “But it doesn’t fit’, said my brother-in-law. The salesman drew himself up to his full height and declared, ‘It’s not the garment, Sir, it’s the figure’. Needless to say my brother-in-law moved on to another shop – and this story went down in family history.

The salesman’s words were neither true nor spoken in love but this memory brought to my mind the verses above. We’re told in Proverbs (6.16) that the Lord hates a lying tongue and Jesus said, ‘I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter’ (Matthew 12:36). We’re reminded as Christians that we must guard our tongues against lies and not just our tongues but our ears as well. We must be discerning enough to reject false teaching and we must be loving enough to reject false witnesses.

We must put away lies and we must speak the truth in love.  We all know that there is a big difference between someone who “tells it like it is” and someone who speaks the truth in love. What we say should always be truthful and honest which can include being encouraging and comforting. However, speaking the truth in love can also include being challenging, even confrontational at times, which is something many of us find difficult – I know I’m not very good at it. It’s certainly something we must be very careful about but we have to confront ungodliness and sin with truthful speech and it’s important to the health of the church that we do so.  Doctors don’t refuse to tell someone of their illness because they’re afraid of hurting their feelings and if you have a loved one who is  prescribed medication to help them get better, you naturally encourage them if they refuse to take it; and if that doesn’t work you probably move on to more direct speech. As Christians we are called to speak the truth at all times in all situations.

Sadly, the truth can be used to hurt, and to manipulate, so we must always be sure that our words are spoken in love.  Everything we say has to be filtered through the two great commands Jesus gave us, to love God and to love our neighbour.

Prayer:

Loving heavenly Father,
We pray that you would help us as followers of Christ to speak your truth in love –
but never with self-interest or with the intention of hurting someone else.

We pray that you would surround each one of us with brothers and sisters who love us enough to speak truth to us, and we pray that you would give us this kind of love for others.

May we recognize ways that we can help each other to grow in Christ by doing the hard work of speaking the truth to one another, but always in love.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Reflection and Prayer © 2021 Ann Caffyn.
Image freely available online.

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