Are you a person that speaks their mind openly and honestly? Are you a person that never speaks their mind and keeps their opinions to themselves? Or are you a person that speaks the truth in love like the bible suggest that we do? I must admit that I have been all three. When I was really young I was one that never spoke my mind and kept my thoughts to myself. In my late teenage years I spoke my mind and I did not have a filter on my mouth. Then once I got serious in my walk with Jesus I did my best to speak truth with love to others. When I was quiet I always felt misunderstood and not valued. When I spoke my mind I began to feel guilty after a while for hurting peoples feelings although there was a empowerment that I felt by speaking my mind and not caring how it made the other person feel or the consequences that I faced for some of the things that came out of my mouth. Then when I started to speak the truth in love I gained a freedom along with empowerment and peace. I learned that we can tell someone the truth without hurting their feelings. I learned that we can voice our wants and needs without being demanding. I learned that we can voice our concerns and worries without yelling and fussing. I learned that there are ways that we can talk to people to get the message across in a way that the other person will not feel judged, criticized, condemned, or attacked by us. Speaking the truth in love is not always easy though.
After many failed attempts of trying to talk about issues “in love” with my spouse, some friends, and even my child I began to lose my voice. No matter how kindly and nice that I would speak about the issue at hand they would always take it the wrong way and it would end up in a fuss or a big disagreement. I would try and try to explain that I did not mean it the way that they were taking it but they demanded that I was wrong. I knew that they were responding in that a manner because of the way that they felt about themselves but it ended up discouraging me so much that I began to not say anything at all again. I began to not voice the truth, my opinions, my wants or needs, nothing that could possibly be turned around. I allowed things to go on that I did not like or approve of. I allowed my home to not be taken care of the way that I liked it to be. I began to let others walk over me because of the fear of the reaction that I would get from the words that came out of my mouth. It got to the point that I lost more than just my voice. I lost confidence. I lost peace. I lost joy. I lost freedom. I felt alone and misunderstood all over again. Because of the fear that I had gained of the reactions of others I allowed myself to be taken advantage of, treated unfairly, I did not stand up for the truth that I was trying to live out in my life, I allowed my surroundings to become toxic for me, all ultimately affecting my spirit and my well being. I would keep things bottled up until something would happen and I would explode, letting it all out in anger. Then I would feel bad for how I handled the situation and would wish that I had said things differently.
I had to make a change. I couldn’t continue to remain quiet. I didn’t need to go back to the blunt outburst. I needed to get back to speaking truth with love. But what if I did that and I was ridiculed for what I said? What if I was verbally attacked because of the truth that I spoke? What if they didn’t like what I had to say? These were questions that ran through my mind continually. The fear of the response that I may get really bothered me. I did not want what I meant for good to turn out bad once again. But I had to get my voice back. I had to start standing up for the truth, what was right, and myself.
We do not have control over the way that one will react. We can not make a person receive our words in a loving way. We can not make a person like the truth or what is right. We can, however, choose to speak truth with love, no matter how the person reacts to it. If we know that we are speaking from our heart in a loving way and we have explained that we are not judging, attacking, or ridiculing the person then that is all that we can do. Before we talk to the person we can pray that God prepare their heart and help them to receive our words with love but ultimately it is up to that person to do so. But it is important that we speak what is on our hearts and not hold it in. In some situations we are not acting in love if we choose to not confront someone about something that they have going on that is harmful to them or others. We are not speaking truth to them that could help them in some way. And we are not loving ourselves when we do not speak up for ourselves, what is right, the truth, and our wants and needs.
There are many relationships that have ended because of the way that the communication is between the two. If we all would speak truth with love to each other there would be much less arguments, break ups, fights, drama, bitterness, and hostility between people. We would all be much more peaceful and happy if we could voice ourselves without being verbally attacked or put down or taken the wrong way. If we could all allow others to voice themselves and respond in a loving manner we could solve a lot of disagreements without arguments. If we have conversations without only thinking of ourselves we could hear into the heart of the other person and be able to understand them better. If we spent more time listening to others than trying to prove our point we could learn more about them. And if we could know and understand a persons heart better then we could have a better relationship with them.
Having a voice that speaks the truth with love is a great quality to have. Being a friend sometimes means having a difficult conversation about something that person is doing wrong or something that they need to change. Acting in love is speaking truthful with others in a kind and compassionate way. We will get bad reactions at times but it is important that we continue to have them hard conversations, stick up for what is right, stand our ground on what our needs are, and always addressing others with love.