I want to expand a little on my ideas on truth because I’m not certain the message on my last posting came through clearly. By no means do I suggest you lie to someone or say nothing to avoid the truth. If the truth affects the health of a person’s soul, then it should be addressed. We don’t want to cause another to stumble or miss out on eternity because we neglected to share the truth with them. What exactly is truth though?
The absolute truth, or what the Bible teaches, no longer influences our society, so our thoughts on truth have been compromised. We’ve moved so far from it and regard it as ancient history from days gone by. (Actually, not that ancient. I clearly remember the strength of the truth in our society as a child.) How quickly it has catapulted to a matter of opinion.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, “Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.” Maybe that’s why our country is in such dire straits.
What “kind of truth” is the matter at hand here. There is God’s truth (absolute truth) and there is our own truth.
God’s truth is evident all through the Bible, and He asks that we speak it and live it. Yes, if a brother sins we are called to point it out to him. BUT, that doesn’t mean we shove it down his throat and continuously bash him over the head with it. If he doesn’t listen, the Bible tells us to bring in others to help reinforce the truth to him. (Not physically, obviously, but in kind words.)
Henry David Thoreau once said, “The only way to tell the truth is to speak with kindness. Only the words of a loving man can be heard.”
I Peter 3:1-2 says, “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”
Our example is much more powerful than the words that come out of our mouths, yet so many feel powerless without constantly voicing their opinions. Our opinions are our own truth, quite different from the truths of the Bible.
Do you have friends or relatives that speak negatively to others and feel obligated to criticize and point out flaws? They aren’t much fun to be around. I try to avoid people like that. They only bring you down.
So why do people feel obligated to criticize their spouse and children and others? What good does it do (besides building up their own self-esteem)? Will the victims make necessary changes through those words or will they build up a wall of scar tissue and choose to wean themselves emotionally (and eventually, physically) from the presence of the opinionator? (Don’t know if that’s a word, but I like the sound of it. Hmm, close to terminator.)
If an issue is important for building the character of your spouse or child, find the words to deliver your message in a positive, kind way. No other way will be received. Spewing unkind words is abusive to another. That is why God tells us over and over to “watch our tongues.” The tongue is a double-edged sword and can do permanent damage, even if you think it is your responsibility to point out another’s faults. Let God do that.