Loving People … Honestly
Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:14-16
We will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Ephesians 4:15
Talk about it: Suppose you spotted a friend asleep in the middle of the street and a car was approaching. What would you do?
No question, right? You would run to the middle of the road and shake your friend awake—even if you had to slap him or splash a soda in his face. You would point to the oncoming car. You would grab him by the hand and run for safety.
That one was easy. But sometimes we see our friends making poor choices—choices that in the long run can be just as destructive as waking up in the middle of a road to meet an oncoming car face-first. Maybe you have friends in the habit of lying, stealing, or disobeying their parents. Or perhaps you know someone interested in smoking or even doing drugs. You know what you should say and what you want to say. But it’s a little harder to spit out the words, isn’t it?
Once again, since Jesus was the perfect example of love, let’s look at how he loved people in tough situations.
The Bible tells us about a time when religious leaders dragged to Jesus a woman who had been caught sinning. Jesus didn’t trash the woman for her sin, but neither did he ignore her wrongdoing. He kindly told her to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11).
Another time, Jesus met a Samaritan woman—a foreigner most Jewish people wouldn’t have talked to. He knew she was living a sinful lifestyle. Once again, Jesus didn’t put her down, but neither did he let her sin slide by. He lovingly helped her see that he was the only one who could truly meet her needs (see John 4:4-26).
Jesus even confronted Peter, one of his best friends in the world, when Peter stood in the way of God’s purposes (see Matthew 16:21-23). And again, Jesus didn’t attack Peter, but he didn’t ignore his mistake.
Jesus spoke the truth to these people because he loved them. He knew they weren’t living in a way that was pleasing to God, and he wanted them to experience God’s best in life. He showed how truth and love can go hand in hand.
True love is honest because it seeks God’s best in the lives of people we love. It’s hard to see our friends making poor choices—choices that keep them from God’s best and eventually bring them great harm. But Jesus has given us the perfect picture of how to help them. Follow his example. Be honest with your friends. It’s the most loving thing to do.
TALK: Why is it sometimes hard to tell your friends the truth when they are making harmful choices?
PRAY: God, give us strength and wisdom to speak the truth in love.
ACT: Do you have a friend who is getting into harmful behavior? Talk with a mature Christian about ways you can lovingly speak truth to your friend.