I wrote this short article back in June of last year. But, I thought I'd share it, seeing that it is just as relevant today today as it was then.
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Talking, in today’s culture, is over-rated. Everyone does it. There seemingly are talk shows about every subject imaginable. In the midst of all this clamorous chatter, though, how much truth is being proclaimed? While politically correct verbiage seems to be like Walgreens®: on every corner – truth and truth-preachers are few and far between. Sadly, Christians, who have been commanded to speak the truth, all too often have been dolefully silent. Paul, as the Holy Spirit inspired writer of the Book of Ephesians, wrote in chapter four, that “we should [speak] the truth in love.” Because of this, and numerous similar Scripture passages, Christians must speak out the truth. But, in order to do so, we need to know why we must speak, how we should go about speaking, and what may keep us from speaking.
To understand the importance of declaring truth, we must first understand what truth is. Jesus, speaking to His Father, said, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” But why is it imperative for Christians to speak the truth? Speaking the truth needs to occur because, while lies are being promoted left and right, truth is not being spoken. Truth frees, but lies enslave. Consequently, our society has become one full of slaves, as if ‘comfortable slavery’ is more desirable than God’s freedom. Speaking the truth is important because it combats lies, and may keep people from being led astray into the lies of Satan. And just because others are not speaking the truth, doesn’t take away our responsibility. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Using God’s truth, the Bible, we must speak truth and light into a society of lies and darkness, even if we must do so in the very face of evil.
But simply blaring out the truth is not good enough. The motivation driving us to speak the truth must be correct. To speak motivated by the need to always be right is ungodly. While you may get your point across, the hearer will likely disregard the truth of your message because of your detrimental motivation. Coupling correct motivation with a gentle, loving manner of speech is a much more effective and God-honoring method. Paul the apostle wrote later in Ephesians chapter four, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that is may impart grace to the hearers.” Speak the truth in love. Graciously present the truth to someone who is in error will keep them from stumbling over the messenger or the way the messenger presents the message. Our manner of speech should draw the listener to us, like two magnets are drawn to each other. But if we just carelessly blurt out truth, we will repel people, precisely like two magnets are repelled when you turn one around.
Into this picture enters a complicated problem: you and me. We are the problem when we allow things like fear to drive us, and to hamstring us from boldly declaring the truth. The voice of the fear of man says to us, “People are going to think you’re crazy,” or “You’re going to offend someone.” Although that may be true, we must learn to fear God, who sees the heart, more than we fear man.
Another fear we tend to cave in to is the fear of persecution. Speaking the truth may not be politically correct, and in turn you may get kicked off your own T.V. show. Or, your business might go bankrupt because you insist on proclaiming the “offensive” truth. This is real persecution. But, like the early Christians facing torture and gruesome death for preaching the truth, we must choose to obey God rather than man, and leave the results up to God.
Sometimes we think that what we do or say has to be big, and if it isn’t then it’s ineffective. The truth is, though, that change will occur when each of us “speaks truth with our neighbor,” and when we consistently, with our words and our actions, are salt and light to those around us on an everyday basis. Oddly enough then, the very same thing that is too often the roadblock to solving the problem can be a part of the solution.
You and I, when we understand the importance of speaking the truth in love, and decide to not be hindered by our fears, become part of the enlightening and preserving medicine for this illness of wicked, dark and artificial chatter. Even amongst a culture full of clamorous babbling, truth will ring out loud and clear when it is courageously spoken.