Do you value others who are honest with you, speaking truth in kindness and love? Or do you prefer to surround yourself with people who will only tell you what you want to hear?
In the book of Zechariah, God is talking to the Jewish remnant from the Babylonian captivity. He promises to return to Zion, dwelling within Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:3).
God tells the people not to fear but to cling to hope. He says, “These are the things which you shall do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace at your gates” (Zechariah 8:16, NASB).
God starts with telling the people to speak in truth to one another. The same command is expected of us today (Proverbs 12:22). Is it always easy to tell the truth? The answer to that question is simple: no, it is often more difficult to tell the truth.
Many times, the truth is encouraging and uplifting. It is a great feeling to encourage someone in the giftings that God has given them, or to serve as a bearer of good news.
These truths are easy to share, and usually gratifying to the one complimenting and encouraging the other (as well as for the one receiving the encouraging truth).
The Apostle Paul encourages this behavior, “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you also are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NASB). Encouraging one another in truth should be a routine, although special, part of our daily lives.
It would be convenient to tell the truth only when it is encouraging and uplifting. However, the truth hurts at other times. But, if these truth-based conversations are motivated by love, it will lead to positive realizations and change (Ephesians 4:25).
Galatians 6:1 says, “… even if a person is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual are to restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness” (NASB).
Confrontational truth that is spoken without love and gentleness will cause greater issues. Place yourself in the same situation. If you need to hear hard truth, would you want someone to approach you with a mocking attitude? Or, with a better-than-thou approach?
I sure wouldn’t desire this type of confrontation. Rather, I would prefer to experience encouragement in love.
As we speak truth in love and gentleness, we are representing Jesus Christ. Scripture tells us, “I (Jesus) am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6, NASB).
This passage makes it clear that Jesus is the “Way” to life, and no one can be right with the Father if they fail to place faith in Christ Jesus as Lord (motivation to share the Gospel throughout the world).
Also, this passage teaches that Jesus is the “Truth.” The implications are huge. The reality is anything that contradicts Jesus is false—without truth. If He is truth, there can be no contradictions between what He says and what truth is.
Therefore, as followers of Jesus — the “Truth” — let us walk in a manner that is pleasing to Him. Speak truth to one another in love and gentleness so that God will be glorified in and through our lives.
Check out Steve Arterburn’s Daily Lift on how the words we speak can have a huge impact on the lives of others as well as on ourselves.