Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, I suggested that speaking the truth has mainly to do with communicating the good news of God’s love and grace in Christ. We are all called and blessed to be able to share with others this truth. I don’t mean you should be pulling out your Bible every time you talk with someone. And you don’t have to mention God in every sentence. But your speech should be flavored and formed by God’s grace, whether you mention the Lord or not.
There is another dimension of truth speaking that I believe is essential. You might call this “general truth speaking.” I’m thinking of the ordinary things we say each day, among our families and friends, in our work and our public discourse. Whether we’re passing on stories, testifying in court, giving a report at work, trying to make a sale, or preaching a sermon, we who belong to Jesus Christ should tell the truth. Always. (Or almost always, at any rate. On Monday, I’ll consider whether or not we should always tell the truth.)
We live in a time of history in which truth speaking is at risk. Social media encourages exaggeration, distortion, if not outright deception. Politicians bend the truth at will and, for the most part, voters don’t seem to mind. When business and even church leaders are less than truthful, we often shrug as if to say that’s normal. During my tenure as a pastor, I heard numerable stories of spouses lying to spouses, children lying to parents, business partners lying to business partners, and so forth. And I don’t think my congregation was all that unusual, by the way. We weren’t an unusually evil people! Truth speaking seems to be valued less and less these days.
I believe this gives those of us who follow Jesus both a mandate and an opportunity. We who have committed our lives to the one who claims to be the Truth ought to tell the truth when we talk, both in imitation of our Lord and in obedience to Scripture. Yet, if we are consistent truth speakers, I believe we will gain something invaluable from those who know us, namely trust. If we are known to speak honestly, our colleagues, bosses, and subordinates will trust us at work. If we are truth speakers, our friends, neighbors, and customers will trust us. If we are leaders, those who follow us will trust us. And trust, whether in business, church, family, government, or education, makes all the difference in the world.
Something to Think About:
Can you think of people whom you regard as very truthful? What motivated these people to tell the truth?
Would people who know you say you are a truthful person? Would your colleagues? Your family? Your friends? Those whom you lead?
What helps you to tell the truth when you’re tempted to be less than truthful?
Something to Do:
As you go about your day today, pay attention to your truthfulness. See if you’re tempted to be less than truthful. Try to figure out why. Work on speaking the truth in love.
Gracious God, you are the God of truth, the author of all that’s true. As someone who seeks to obey, honor, and imitate you, I want to be a truthful person. Help me, Lord, to speak the truth. Help me to learn how not to be deceptive. Give me courage to be honest, for your sake, and so that I might earn the trust of others. Amen.