September 30, 2020
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.
On Monday, we talked about verse 14 of this passage, and how confusion is often a sign of our own immaturity. Today we talk about the opposite of that, which is speaking the truth in love as we grow to become the body of Christ, together. This verse seems to indicate that speaking truth in love is both a path towards and evidence of growing maturity.
The second seems obvious. Think of the most emotionally and spiritually mature person you know. Hopefully, they are able to say hard truths lovingly, and to love by saying what you need to hear. They see good things about you that you don’t see yourself and don’t hesitate to affirm them. They see chinks in your armor, and instead of exploiting them for personal gain, they point them out and help you grow in that area. They are encouragers who don’t hesitate to challenge. They are faithful and supportive friends who refuse to let you get away with anything.
But let’s look at the first premise. How is speaking the truth in love a way to grow in maturity? Sunday’s sermon talked about the dual airplane wings of truth and love. We all have a default “wing”. But a mature person sees the value in the other wing, and is willing to stretch and grow to engage it more fully. Flying with only one wing is inherently selfish. If all you do is speak your truth without consideration of another’s feelings or perspective you will never take into account any opinion but your own. You will injure, offend, and move on. If all you do is love, you will let people hang themselves with all of the rope you let play out in the name of “love”. In an effort to preserve peace, you will avoid opportunities to make a difference, confront injustice, or engage in conflict to move a relationship forward.
Learning to speak the truth in love grows us because it’s an inherently selfless act. Lovers need to be willing to say hard things. Truthers need to be willing to soften their words to help others hear and understand. Learning to use your other wing takes work and focus – the work and focus required to grow towards maturity. Today, try to identify your favorite wing. Look for opportunities to use the other wing in every conversation.