Speak Truth In Love

Mar 21

Speak Truth In Love

I am sick and tired of listening to so much crap about this verse that I just can’t NOT write about it anymore. I’ve been postponing it for a bit over a year now. First because I wasn’t ready to talk about it in a loving way. I was just too offended and angry to do so. (And, obviously, one cannot talk about speaking truth in love unlovingly.) But this topic keeps coming up and I realize now it is probably the Holy Spirit poking me to say something about it, or better, to write something about it. (Sigh…) Well… I can’t just do it in a simple way as I did it with my last text (the one about preaching the gospel). I mean, I could… It is actually quite simple. But the way it came to me and the wild waves in which this subject storms inside of me is most definitely not simple, so how can I possibly tame it as I type? Oh, there is no way to do it and I honestly don’t even want to try. Because chances are I will manage to do it and become one more person who says something and thinks something else, and I AM NOT going to become that kind of person. EVER. I refuse to…

 

Love is wild. Among other things. And to make my point in this matter I will have to do it wildly. Passionately. Unashamed and boldly. So get out now if you don’t like this kind of stuff. By the way, this is me lovingly offering you the door to avoid unpleasant feelings as you continue reading. You are free to go. Because, you see, love is free and sets free, and I am not being ironic here, I swear. No sarcasm whatsoever. You’re still here? Ok then… Let’s go wild…

 

Let’s talk about speaking. Have you ever been in a situation, as a victim, watching the ones who could help you keep quiet and do nothing about it? Have you ever watched an innocent person suffer and tried to do something but couldn’t so you asked someone who could help and that person chose not to get involved? Have you ever had the chance to do something to help someone and you didn’t? Excuses, excuses and more excuses. All perfumed crap to cover up passivity, cowardice and selfishness. A dirty and stinky package of sin.

 

I did have to repent from offence (repeatedly), I admit. But let me tell you a little something about that. One cannot make reference to Ephesians 4:15 and be a people pleaser or walk in passivity. Because the first two words of this verse are “but speak”. That’s how this whole thing of speaking truth in love starts. You’ve got to first throw yourself out there, out of your comfort zone, out of the secure place of being quiet and smiling to everyone or anything opposite to confrontation. Speaking is opposed to being quiet, of doing nothing. Of course there are moments in which the silence speaks louder than words, but that’s exactly the type of “speaking” we are talking about here. Actions speak. Facial expressions speak. Silence speaks. Louder than words at times.

 

Let me go a bit further… There is something in Linguistics called zero morpheme. I’ll explain it using an example. In general, I mean as a rule, plurals are marked and recognized in the English language by the presence of an “s” at the end of the word. Singulars, on the other hand, are marked by the ABSENCE of “s”. When something is marked by the absence of a letter or group of letters instead of its/their presence, that is a case of zero morpheme. There is a proverb in Portuguese that says “the one who silences, consents”. That is probably not the best translation, but I hope you get it. When you don’t answer, when you don’t say something, you are saying something. If you have in front of you a job offer and you don’t respond, you are inevitably saying no to it. If someone asks you, ‘Are you going to do something about it?” and you get quiet that means “no”. If there is a chance to stopping something from happening and you don’t move, you are saying “let it happen, go ahead”. I have something to say to all of those who have gone through life choosing passivity in an attempt to avoid making enemies or pissing people off or getting in trouble. I’m sorry, folks, there is no way out of it. There is no wall for you to stand on and be neutral about life. You have just been fooled by believing that silence will help you get away with your selfishness and cowardice. The Bible does say something interesting about it. It is written in Proverbs 17:28 “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues”. Let me highlight “ARE THOUGHT”, which means, they are not, it’s just an appearance, it is fake. So if that’s the idea, if that’s what someone chooses in being quiet, that’s choosing a lie. That will not end up well. God sees the heart and lies don’t last forever. Also, check out the first and the last in the list of those getting in “eternal trouble” in the book of Revelation chapter 21, verse 8, “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Trying to stay out of trouble by being quiet and not making a stand for what is right? Well… You may scape some trouble now, but you will certainly not scape the worst trouble of all… I personally think it is a very bad trade. I’d pick getting in trouble now.

 

All that was to defend not only the right but the duty and the need to speak. Things need to be said. Some other time I will write about who I understand should say something, and when and how these two things are important. For now I just wanted to shout about the need to speak up, expose lies and bring forth truth. So let’s move one to truth.

 

“Speak” – check!

Truth… Let’s go!

 

I find it amazing how passive people and people pleasers become liers without even noticing. Specially when cornered. Confrontation does different things to different people. Had they been able to stay in the shadows they would have. Had they had the chance of sneaking out without being noticed, they would have. Had they been given the option of being quiet, they wouldn’t have said a word. But when put under the spotlight, oh boy… What comes out of their mouths! Despicable perfumed crap. It sounds nice. It appears to be loving and soooo Christian. Goodness! How far can someone go to avoid taking a side that will cost him/her something? There’s got to be some serious childhood trauma that taught some people that making a stand for what they know to be true and right is not worth it. It is jaw dropping how one can out of a sudden put together all the nicest words in the English language to make something outrageous sound good. Or even the courage to simply nod to what’s wrong just to avoid going against the majority or someone that looks stronger despite of the wrong that person is doing. No wonder why the Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). I sincerely don’t get this cowardice thing… How can you fear men and not fear God who can do to you so much worse than all human kind together? I mean… He can read our minds, He sees our hearts, HE KNOWS when we hide in our silence, He is there when we choose passivity and HE HEARS our lies. He knows the difference between believing a lie and speaking out of it and knowing the truth and yet choosing a “white lie” that is more convenient to us. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7). Whenever we decide to speak (which should be our first step according to Ephesians 4:15), we have to make sure we speak truth. Passivity and cowardice could stretch their claws from out of the silence and take hold of our hearts as we are forced to speak or decide to use words to protect our fears – and in doing so we choose lies, half lies, white lies and all that crap. “Also keep back your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I will be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:13-14).

 

“Speak” – check!

“Truth” – check!

“In love”… Let’s go!

 

That has been for me a lifetime challenge. Speaking in love. But as I get older I realize I haven’t done as bad as I was told. I never understood why God would keep telling me He loved my honesty. It was so hard to receive it. Sometimes it still is. I was told I was rude. I was told I did not know how to speak to people. I was told so many things that for a while kept me from embracing my calling to speak, to write, to communicate. I felt dirty, unfit, disqualified, rejected, guilty and condemned…by men. I kept coming back to God brokenhearted, repenting from being harsh, hurtful, sharp. And yet, all God said to me was He loved my honesty and how He could trust me with delivering messages because He knew I would tell it as I heard, as they were. Not softer, not heavier. I think there was a problem, though. Offense. Whenever I saw the absurd of a situation, whenever I felt the lies covering up for unjust acts and all sort of garbage, I would get furious and sin by getting offended. The anger was not the sin. The offense was. And multiple times my speeches did come out of offense and it would all get mixed up with some holy anger that was no longer that holy… “In your anger, do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26). I have found out that the offense I used to feel was connected to a lie (as are all sins), the lie that God would not do justice and I had to do it myself if I wanted things to be fair. I made myself god in those situations and took charge of both the verdict and the punishment in my hands. Need I say more? Of course I was wrong. So much pride, lack of trust in God’s justice and ignorance about God’s goodness and love. He gave his only son for all of us. Sinners. All of us. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). Speaking out of our pain – due to our wounds, or out of offense – in our lack of faith that God will do justice, or out of fear of rejection – becoming people pleasers, none of those will have the outcome it should when speaking the truth, because all of those will bring along lies. Speaking in offense, as I’ve mentioned before, says that God is not just. Speaking out of fear states that God is not faithful and will not protect you or that He doesn’t love you or accept you. Speaking out of pain hurts others as well and the cycle never ends. Hurt people hurt people, right? That’s why God says in Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Let’s go a bit deeper, because love not always looks like that. Although “love is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4), the Bible also says that God’s voice is like many waters and that He thunders, and He is love and speaks out of love. Many times He sent his prophets with messages that did not sound kind at all but calling people out of their sins into repentance required what we call “tough love”. “Because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” (Hebrews 12:6) I like when Heidi Baker says “love looks like something”. I just think we’ve been wrong in our assumptions concerning what it actually looks like…

 

Speak” – check!

“Truth” – check!

“In love” – …check?

2 comments

  1. Debbie /

    Miriam..thankyou! I’m so glad you are such a bold woman who loves the Lord and you love him enough that you are not thinking about yourself but in obedience to Him you boldly speak forth. I love reading all your posts. They are truth, they have depth. You have a beautiful style of writing, just as you do speaking. Bravo!!! Continue on and on. Your points on offense are spot on too. I think we glorify offense these days…like it’s an attribute. We avoid saying those things that burn in our hearts because we don’t speak. Yet it is the very thing we must do. PC, cover ups, lies and gossip all skirt around the issues..and no one speaks clearly. Is that loving? No! If we love the person..or people we must speak up. There is another proverb..or two about tight lips and concealment..that it hides the sin…and promotes evil.
    You are such a blessing to everyone around you. They may not say it..but Miriam please continue to be salty…Thankyou for loving us all!! God bless you and Eric..and Axel! Xxx

    • Thank you, Debbie! It is very encouraging to hear that from an amazing woman like you!

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