SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE – HOW? – by Ray E Horton
We can’t use grace as an excuse for compromise. There are times when we must speak the truth in love. The Truth is God’s Word, and God is Love.
I have seen in the Word one thing that seems obvious yet is so important, and sometimes we miss it: We are commanded to love God first, then our neighbor. We need to develop more and more that close, intimate relationship with our Father. We need to come into His presence, and allow Jesus, the living Word, to speak to our hearts through the Holy Spirit, keeping us in that first-love relationship. Then we are ready to “speak the truth in love” to our neighbor.
Another thing the Lord has shown me over the years about “speaking the truth in love” is that a person needs to know we love them before they’ll receive the truth from us. How often in the past I would speak a word of truth from the scriptures to someone who needed to hear it, telling them I loved them, only to have them not receive it, even becoming defensive. Now, ultimately it was effective I’m sure, for the Word doesn’t return void. But I’m all for effectiveness in the Spirit, and fruit now whenever possible.
Important with man as well as God
It is relationship that develops the trust we need to be able to share the truth effectively
I’ve found that if I first develop a relationship with a person, they then know that I love them, and they learn to trust me. Then I can tell them anything by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. Then their softened heart will be more likely to be touched and open to the Word. Then they are less blinded by pride or ego and let down their defenses because they trust me to not be judging them, but only judging what they are doing, thinking, saying. I’m clearly not attacking them. but dealing with the issue. Now they are more apt to consider my words, and the Holy Spirit has more opportunity to work on their hearts.
We can never compromise God’s Word, and there are times when we must speak it in love, even if it’s not received. But whenever possible, I want to increase the chances that it will be received, and that the anointing of the Holy Spirit will have more opportunity to make it Rhema Word to their hearts, which will bring conviction and change (repentance).
Now, this does apply more to individual relationships and one-on-one ministry. But I’ve found that even in a corporate setting, if exhortation is prefaced with words of love and affirmation and a respect for their personhood, it is better received.
I share this side of speaking the truth in love because I’ve been frustrated to see so often the Word not getting through, especially in my own early ministry. So, compromise not, but whenever possible do win the trust of those you must exhort by speaking the truth in love.