Speak the Truth in Love
Spreading The Truth One Byte At A Time
By Ron Bender© 2008, 2013
Conflict. It’s inevitable in our close relationships. When you love someone you’ll have misunderstandings, disagreements, and hurts with that person. This is true even for everyone including our Christian leaders and caregivers.
As it relates to conflict the mistake that we’re most prone to make is to avoid or deny it. We walk on egg shells not to upset others. We ignore the elephant in the room. We cover our hurt feelings with a smile or we distract ourselves with busyness. We stuff our anger, becoming depressed or resentful and eventually, perhaps, we lose our temper and speak harshly, causing more hurt to others and ourselves.
But the Bible teaches us to “Speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). God does this with us. And as we grow to rely on God’s love and truth it empowers us also to be honest with others, speaking the truth to them calmly and graciously, without fearing their anger or getting angry ourselves.
Ask for Empathy
In counseling we show people how to resolve their conflicts by saying things like: “When you do X I feel Y.” For instance, a wife might say to her busy husband: “When you take cell phones calls during dinner I feel unimportant. It’s disappointing to have our time together interrupted. I feel set aside, like I don’t matter to you.”
Notice that in saying, “I feel…” you’re not speaking about your perceptions of other people, but your emotions. Except for a brief reference to what happened (what he or she did to trigger your emotion) you’re not focusing on the other person’s behavior; instead you’re asking him or her to understand your personal experience.
Being honest in a gentle way invites empathy, builds trust, and facilitates reconciling after a conflict. It’s not just a skill to learn—it’s the character of Christ to develop.
“Jesus Set Boundaries.” Learn from Jesus how to say no and to speak the truth in love.
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RonRonald Bender- President/CEO Bender Consulting.~http://www.benderbytes.net/bender_consult
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