How many times have we had a friendship or cherished relationship fall apart right before our eyes? We seemingly knew that there was something we should have said or done differently, but what? Even when we wanted to act, we felt paralyzed or trapped by our own emotions, hurt or pain. Then the question, “Don’t they know how I feel?” It is not always easy to verbally express how we really feel due to unknown reactions or consequences, but most times these consequences are a result of things left unsaid.
Not conveying your true feelings could leave the relationship cold, distant, and strained. Silence can starve the life from our relationships. As a result, many marriages suffer divorce. Children grow isolated from their parents. Friends stop communicating. Employees quit their jobs. Parishioners leave their churches.
Strong supportive and loving relationships are the fabric that holds us together. Satan certainly knows this. He and the powers of darkness launch their attacks by introducing discordant thoughts and strife into our relationships. He attempts to misinform, confuse, or bring accusations against us to others. These attempts are designed to destroy our marriages, families, friendships, businesses and churches.
In Ephesians 4:15, Paul expresses how important it is for us to speak the truth to others in love. Speaking the truth destroys the lies and misinformation of Satan and uncovers feelings that may have been built upon misunderstandings. We must be bold and speak the truth to one another in love. Speaking the truth in love must also be accompanied with a commitment to forgive others. Jesus illustrates the importance of forgiving others in the parable of the unmerciful servant. (Matt 18:21-35)
Before you respond, “Oh this is not me. I always speak the truth to others. I tell people just how I feel.” Let’s look a little closer. Speaking the truth in love is not waiting until I’m angry, frustrated or I’m at my wits end. Have you noticed that when we have waited too long, it is nearly impossible to share our thoughts without also expressing the anger or discontent within our hearts? Speaking the truth in love must be done timely and with a humble spirit. (Eph 4:1-3)
Speaking the truth in love facilitates spiritual growth in those around us. It is a selfless and courageous act of Godly love that can change our lives and others. We may reveal a blind spot in their personality or share a perspective they have not considered. We learn things we may not have considered. Consider restoring the person with a spirit of meekness rather than accusation (Gal 6:1). While they need to hear the truth about how we feel, it is equally important that we present it in a way that they will receive it with the love intended.
Speaking the truth in love is a road less traveled. Not many have the courage to address issues immediately. As a result, our relationships may suffer. We can change this today. Before we allow another relationship to wither away, let’s ask God to help us share how we truly feel and give others a sincere opportunity to grow through the experience.