Faithful Wounds

Today’s scripture: Ephesians 4:1-16 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Jeff Miner):

There are a lot of thoughts embedded in today’s Scripture. But one phrase in particular grabs my attention. Before I get there, consider several scenarios.

Scenario 1: Your friend has just painted his home. When you walk into his house, he has a worried look on his face, points to a wall, and says, “Do you think that color works there?” In your mind you’re thinking, “Are you nuts!?” What would you say?

Scenario 2: You’re sitting at a restaurant with a group of friends when you notice one of them has a piece of broccoli caught in her teeth. Would you say anything?

Scenario 3: A coworker and friend tells you that her parents told her she’s not doing a good job of teaching her children to behave. She says, “You’ve been around my kids a lot. What do you think? Do you think I’m not doing a good job?” Suppose you think she’s not. Suppose you think she lets her kids get away with way too much. What would you say?

When people need my honest feedback, my natural tendency is to withhold it. I hate conflict. I don’t want to upset anyone. I don’t want to bring people down. So in the scenarios above, my innate inclination would be to ignore the broccoli in my friend’s teeth; tell my painter friend, “I like that color on your wall;” and tell my friend with out-of-control kids, “I don’t think they’re so bad.”

The easiest thing in the world is to wimp out and tell people what they want to hear. That’s why I’m so convicted by verse 16 of today’s Scripture: “Speak the truth in love.”

Truth is often the best gift we can give anyone; I get that. Love cares enough to speak the truth. Wimping out is a form of abandonment. It says, “I don’t care enough about you to risk upsetting you. So I’ll just let you keep being embarrassed. I’ll just let you keep messing up.”

As followers of Jesus, we are called to love so deeply that we routinely offer the gift of truth — not harshly spoken truth, but truth shared in gentle love. When I’m at my best, I find that gentle questions are often the best way to ease into these kinds of conversations. “Are you worried that your kids are out of control?” “Do you want my honest opinion?”

Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

Thought For The Day: Do I care enough about the people around me to “speak the truth in love”?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.