I’m so pleased that author Kristen Hogrefe hosted the following blog post on her site today. Her blog focuses on seeking and living out God’s truth on a daily basis. If you haven’t already signed up to receive her blogs via email, please do so today. I’m sure they’ll be a blessing to you!
My husband Robby and I have been happily married for over six years now. One of the reasons we work so well together is that neither of us likes drama. We prefer the simple life. But, sometimes, stuff happens and you just have to deal with it. And that’s when our complementary personalities really shine. You see, Robby is a natural-born peacemaker, and I’m…well…scrappy. As you can imagine, we didn’t always see this difference as positive thing.
Early into our relationship, Robby’s “can’t we all just along?” temperament grated on my “why can’t everyone just do it right?!” attitude. It wasn’t long before we realized some very important things about ourselves.
Truth, Truth, Truth
I am a “truth, truth, truth” kind of person. Not only do I want to know the truth, but I want to relay the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, at all times. If that hurts your feelings, I’m sorry—but not really, ‘cause I can’t help that it’s the truth.
Love, Love, Love
Robby, on the other hand, is the quintessential peacemaker. He is a “love, love, love” kind of person. Yes, he wants to be truthful in all things, but if he has to pick, he’ll choose a loving silence over a truthful discourse any day.
Truth or Love?
At one point, we talked about what was more godly: truth or love? Fortunately, I was taking Bible classes at that time, and we looked into the following verse:
“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24 NAS)
The teacher suggested that “in spirit” means “in love,” since we know that “God is love” (1 John 4:16 NAS).
Although the context of John 4 is worship, all of our activities can be considered worship if we do them as unto the Lord. (See Colossians 3:23.)
Pulling these concepts together, I realized that my words and actions should be as loving as they are truthful.
Love, Truth, Love
That’s when Robby and I made a pact. He would be more upfront with the truth, trusting that I wouldn’t overreact or blame him for passing along difficult news. And I would be more loving, sweetening each word of truth with love. Now, we’re both striving to be “love, truth, love” kind of people—sandwiching the necessary truth in love.
I have to admit that this has made me a better person, wife, and friend. It’s also enabled me to minister to others in a meaningful way.
[Click to Tweet: Our words and actions should be as loving as they are truthful. @bigsistertweets @kjhogrefe #loveandtruth]
Learn to Love
If you’re a truth-focused person like I am, take heart! You can learn to be more loving in your interactions with others. Here are a few tips.
God first – Remember, the great commandment is to love God, and the second is to love your neighbor. (See Matthew 22:37-39.) We can’t fulfill the second commandment until we fulfill the first. It might help to think of the image of the “love cup.” Focus on your love for God first, letting that fill your love cup. Then let God’s love overflow and pour through you into your relationships with others.
Fake it – In the meantime, “fake it ‘til you make it.” I don’t mean that you should be a fake person, but if you make an effort to be nice and caring, you’ll find your emotions follow suite.
Pray – You can’t dislike someone you’re praying for—at least not for long—so pray daily for their welfare.
Learn to be Truthful
If you have a hard time telling difficult things to people you love, you can learn to be more truthful.
Right motives – We should never speak the truth out of a sense of self-righteousness or judgment. However, we should speak truth in love if it will help the other person in some way. This could be as small as telling your friend that she has spinach in her teeth; or it could be as big as confronting her with her addiction to alcohol. Just make sure your motives are righteous before you speak.
Faith – If you need to say something, then have faith in your friend and in the strength of your relationship. Even if the truth rocks the boat a bit, your friend should appreciate that you said what you did in love.
What about you? Have you struggled with speaking truth in love? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NAS).