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“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.”

– Ephesians 4:15

“Where is the love?”

– Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack

Have you ever noticed how folks claim to “speak the truth in love” as they approach people about their behavioral choices, but rarely actually demonstrate the “love” part? In fact, usually when I hear someone saying, “I’m just speaking the truth in love”, I can be fairly sure it’s not about love or truth. More often than not, it’s about manipulation, control, or some distorted, ego-centric idea of what truth is. I’m sorry, but those ain’t the same thing.

It reminds me of the classic line in the movie A Few Good Men. In it, Jack Nicholson plays a high ranking military officer who delivers the line “You can’t handle the truth!” With that line, he assumed that he was the sole owner of the truth and the arbitor of who could/couldn’t handle what he had to say. Unfortunately, I see that exact thing play out with a lot of people in the religious circle who use a concept like “truth” to to justify their way of dealing with people. After all, the best way to mask your inflated sense of right and your moral authority over others is by shielding it behind Ephesians 4:15.

I think therein lies the problem. Simply put: without love, there is no truth. Without love, your “truth” isn’t worth the minute it may have taken you to read this.

The fact is: Jesus was the ultimate truth teller. But he also demonstrated the utmost in love. So to anybody who claims to be a purveyor of truth, but keep finding that your message is falling flat: take a step back and reassess your approach. Maybe it’s not that people can’t handle the truth. Maybe it’s just that your truth is absent of love.

– ACL