Truth-telling and ‘Faithful Wounds’

29 Oct

Judy rushed in to see her doctor, looking very much worried and all strung out. Girl Crossing Fingers

She rattles off, “Doctor, take a look at me. When I woke up this morning, I looked at myself in the mirror and saw my hair all wiry and frazzled up, my skin was all wrinkled and pasty, my eyes were bloodshot and bugging out, and I had this corpse-like look on my face! What’s wrong with me, Doctor?”

The doctor looks her over for a couple of moments, then calmly says, “Well, I can tell you that there’s nothing wrong with your eyesight.”*

A television game show, To Tell the Truth, was all the rage in many American homes from 1956 to 1968. The show featured a panel of four celebrities who tried to correctly identify a contestant with an unusual experience of occupation. Two impostors pretended to be that main contestant, and I (Dawn) remember sitting at home laughing at all the crazy lies the impostors concocted. Some of the lies, however, sounded much like the truth, confusing the panel, and I couldn’t tell who the real contestant was until after that famous phrase, “Will the real _____ please stand up.”

I’m not sure if I learned to lie by watching that show, but I do remember that when I was a child, I used to tell lies, but crossed my fingers to “make up” for the lie, as if it didn’t count. I learned ~ after mom stroked my tongue with a bar of soap ~ that a lie is still a lie, no matter what part of the body is crossed!

The Bible has much to say about telling the truth, but one of the most powerful scriptures my husband and I have practiced is Ephesians 4:15 – “Speak the truth in love.” It’s good advice for any time we speak to our spouse, children, co-workers, friends, and others.

But speaking truth isn’t enough. Love is required. We need to consider how we share the truth. Our goal should always be to encourage the spiritual condition or growth of the one who hears our words. Sometimes our “truth in love” (whether spoken or written) will inflict pain, but that is not the goal (for example, 2 Cor. 7:8-11). When words wound, they must be the wounds of a friend (Prov. 27:6). A friend maintains another person’s dignity by speaking kindly and with respect. And when love must reprove or denounce sin or error (2 Tim. 4:2), we must always be sure our motives are right (1 Cor. 13:1, 4-7).

Beyond speaking the truth in love, we must also be ready to listen to the truth. Bill and Pam Farrel have a great chapter on “Listening” in their book, Marriage in the Whirlwind, with some truth principles that can be applied to any relationship.

When do you think it is it most difficult to share truth with those we love?

~ * from Sheep


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