At one time, truth in our society consisted of integrity, honesty, and moral priorities. As a Christian nation, we understood the meaning of truth and accepted all it stood for.
Times have changed. There now seems to be a gray area in which people quickly resort to when they are uncomfortable with the real truth. Truth has now become a matter of what works for you and what works for me, an individual choice.
Why then does the world tell us to refrain from the belief of restrictive truths, yet individually, encourages no restraints from voicing our own opinions of truth, especially to those we love? (I am not talking about Biblical truths here - they are quickly becoming forbidden anywhere outside the church.)
Many people feel obligated to point out every flaw and every wrongdoing of their spouses, children, and family members, no matter how hurtful the words are. For some reason, society tells us we have the right to do this. “Speak out! Tell them what you are feeling! Tell them the truth!” I suppose this falls in that gray area where we determine what truth works for us.
Where lies the fine line between constructive truth and hurtful truth?
Luke 17:3 says, “If your brother sins, rebuke him.” We are called to rebuke, or reprimand, or criticize, only when we see others commit a sin. (Check out all the Bible verses on ‘Rebuke’.) Nowhere does the Bible tell us to point out flaws or degrade someone, no matter how truthful your intentions are.
Repeatedly, the Bible DOES tell us to “watch your tongues.” In other words, that means to watch carefully what you say so as not to offend another person. (See my April posting on “Controlling the Tongue.”) We should only speak positive words of edification to our spouses and our families, and everyone we know.
Yes, we should always speak truthfully to our spouses, but know when to hold the tongue. The truth is sometimes too difficult to hear. (I don’t need to hear my husband say, "Looks like you’ve put on a little weight," when I already know that truth.) Choose wisely when to share a difficult truth, if at all. Pray about it first.
I John 3:18 says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
Proverbs 10:19 says, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”
Therefore, it is not your duty to tell your spouse or your children, or anyone for that matter, what is wrong with them. You are called to love them through actions and kind words.