Ephesians 4:14-24 NIV
“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. So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
What stood out to me…
Whenever I am fired up about something, my voice goes a few octaves louder and my blood pressure rises. I begin to speak before I think, and when I do think, I almost always believe I am right.
Mostly this happens towards Jason as a way to vent, not towards the person in question. He understands he married a person who processes things out-loud, so he has learned to listen well. :). And at the end of my rants, he’ll laugh and sometimes make a comment about the “Carpenter” coming out in me. Carpenter is my maiden name and Jason is making reference to the fact I come from a very long line of stubborn, often loud, speak-as-soon-as-we-think-it, people. We all think we are right most all of the time, which is interesting in disagreements. I’m pretty sure my dad feels some sort of victory when he watches my children show me the same “Carpenter” spirit I gave him as a kid. Yes, I did get at least one who is just like me.
There are certain traits connecting us to our families.
I was born into the Carpenter family and so my husband isn’t surprised my fiery Carpenter side comes out sometimes.
As we meet those who have accepted Jesus and have been born again into the family of God, there are certain characteristics we expect to see.
As Kristan and I both mentioned last week on our blogs, these are not expectations born out of people needing to check the list of “God rules,” but making choices out of love for the Father.
Unfortunately, many Christians today are known for taking the concept of “speaking the truth in love” and not showing a lot of love with it. Many believers get stuck trying to drag others across the line of “correctness” rather than simply pointing them the direction of faith in Jesus.
When we find ourselves concerned with being right more than representing Jesus, we are missing a piece of the Gospel.
Absolutely there is a time to speak truth to those around us when it comes from a place of love.
When my mom was suffering with an addiction to alcohol, the unquestionable trust was she needed to quit drinking. As I approached her about it, the question became: was I wanting her to quit because of my love for her or because of her addiction’s inconvenience to me?
When I correct my children for the tone they use when speaking to me, am I coming from a place of wanting them to have a sensitive heart into adulthood to the way others hear them, or am I not wanting to be embarrassed and seen as an incapable mother?
The motive of our heart matters to God.
Rather than looking at this verse in Galatians as permission to say what we believe is “correct,” I wonder if it calls into question the intention of our own words. Are we actually being self-serving with our words? Or, are we trying to please God in our truth to others?
As I practice putting off my old, quick-to-speak self, I am learning to be a better listener.
In order for us to speak the truth in love, we have to be able to receive the truth in love.
Are we able to lay our pride down, and allow the Holy Spirit and others who genuinely care for us to shine a light on our dark spots?
Compassion is built in experience. This week, let’s give someone permission to let us practice receiving some truth in the name of character growth. Then before we speak truth to someone, let’s check our motives. If there is even a sliver of something in us not completely sold out to the benefit of the other person, can we agree to hold our tongue and take it in prayer first, asking the Lord to change our own hearts?
Thank you Father that you have given us each other to help us represent you well. Forgive us when we selfishly forget we are all here for your glory and not our own. Give us ears to hear the words in love to help us grow more in your image, and give us compassionate words to do the same. Amen.
For Thursday, August 20, read Ephesians 4:25-32