I have to be honest- the phrase “Speaking the truth in love” feels like an oxymoron. “Speaking things people like to hear” is more my cup of tea. And the words “I need to talk to you about something” have the potential to hijack my thoughts for an entire day.
Truth telling is awesome when the truth you have to give is affirmation. Anything else feels unloving when it’s coming out. And because of that, those of us “sensitive types” often try to deliver such truth in the form of yay-boo statements to soften the blow:
I bet you’d have the gift of preaching if more people had the gift of listening.
You can be such a sensitive listener when you’re not talking too much.
You would add so much to our meetings if you were on time.
Your dedication would be so admirable if you were only gifted for the task.
When we are on the receiving end of such statements (and others delivered in a more straightforward way), we can’t help but feel a little like this:
None of us likes to hear unattractive things about ourselves. But if we can get over our urge to spew back all the inadequacies of our confronter, the truth we are hearing can add great value to our lives. Even if we need to do a little sifting in order to hear it.
Hard truth takes time before it can properly sink in. And it is important to discern whether the truth you may be
running from hearing is aimed at correction or guidance.
Looking at the above statements, #1 and #4 guide us toward what we are good at– by gently suggesting the gifts we think we have that may be misplaced. #2 and #3 are things we may need to work to improve—and it’s important to remember they are being shared in order to help us grow.
Because the truth is, most people have probably observed these things about you- even if you would prefer not to hear them about yourself.
But self-awareness is the first step toward change and growth.
When it comes to speaking the truth, some people have the “gift of confrontation”. However they often spend a lot of time alone.
Most who sit before you with something hard to say are doing it because they are on your side.
If you can hear them, they may help you discover where you are gifted. They can also help you deal with your blind spots, become the best version of yourself, and shine.
Which may mean speaking the truth in love actually isn’t an oxymoron after all.
We just need to be brave enough to receive it.