“Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another…” — Ephesians 4:15,25
“Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” — Galatians 4:16
Blaise Pascal, a 17th century philosopher and theologian said, “If all men knew what others say of them, there would not be four friends in the world.” Sadly, Pascal’s seemingly cynical comment holds some truth. We do not always speak the truth to one another. When we do speak the truth, it is not always spoken in love. St. Paul’s exhortation in verse 25 above is that we “put away falsehood and speak the truth with our neighbor”. And he gives us a sound reason for doing so: “for we are members one of another.” Walls that are built with shoddy material will crumble. Falsehood will make for brittle bricks, and the mortar of love will have nothing to cling to. But speaking the truth in love will enable us to continue to grow. And when we practice the virtue of lovingly telling the truth to one another, we will encourage each other into being remade in the the image of Christ “who is the head.”
The Greek word that Saint Paul uses in verse 15 for speaking the truth is a word rich in meaning. It has the meaning of “being true” or “being sincere in love”. This word is used by Saint Paul only here and in Galatians 4:16. In this latter verse, St Paul asks the Galatians why they might think that he is not being loving in telling them the truth. He was telling them something that they did not want to hear! Sometimes the truth hurts. However, the way of truth is found in Jesus Christ, and that way leads to spiritual maturity. By walking in the way of truth, and speaking the truth in love to one another, we are brought more deeply into unity in our common life in Christ. And by being willing to hear and accept the truth, even when it seems unpleasant, we can become more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ. This is what Saint Paul means when he says “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him.”
Not only will building the walls in truth bind us together, once these walls are fully constructed we will be protected from the lies and deceptions of the world, if we are standing firm in Jesus Christ. The walls of truth will hold in that which belongs to Christ, and shield us from the efforts of the enemy on the outside to sow seeds of falsehood and deceit.
One thought on “Wednesday of 1 Lent”
The post mostly focuses on how we speak to other people about themselves and the importance of speaking the truth in love and listening to what others say to us. Another important aspect of this is how you talk about yourself and being truthful about who you are and what is going on with you. Reading this post brought to mind the current song by Matthew West “Truth Be Told” where he sings that “I say I’m fine but I’m not, I’m broken” and notes how we hide our wounds and scars even though “being honest is the only way to fix it.” In order for the temple of God to hold together and function as it should, we need to know that we can share about ourselves and our struggles and wounds honestly, without fearing that we will be told that our brick is the wrong color, or too lumpy or misshapen to be part of the temple. Scripture tells us that God does not lie and if we are to be perfected in Him, we need to be truthful in our interactions with each other. If we are hiding behind some sort of facade in order to be liked or accepted, we are not able to be bound together in love.