I have been thinking a lot lately about the verse that says, 1 Peter 4:8 (Amplified Bible)
8 Above all, have fervent and unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins [it overlooks unkindness and unselfishly seeks the best for others].
Does this mean that we cover up all unacceptable things that others do? Not according to the Word.
15 But speaking the truth in love [in all things—both our speech and our lives expressing His truth], let us grow up in all things into Him [following His example] who is the Head—Christ.
Better is an open reprimand [of loving correction] Than love that is hidden.
Now if you are exempt from correction and without discipline, in which all [of God’s children] share, then you are illegitimate children and not sons [at all].
Part of love being shown to another is speaking the truth (in love) when someone has veered off of God’s path and is heading in the wrong direction. How do we do that when maybe we grew up in a home where nothing was discussed. Maybe you are more passive aggressive in your response to seeing injustice or being personally wronged. Maybe you run from confrontation like it’s the plague! If that is you (It used to be me) I would ask you to take a moment and ask yourself if covering up and pretending all is okay is serving you well. Do you have judgement, resentment or offense built up in your heart because you haven’t spoken the truth in love?
I am not suggesting to go to the extreme and blurt out everything that you believe people are doing incorrectly or speaking each thought that runs through your head. That is called having no filter and shows a lack of self-control and maturity. I am talking about the stuff that matters for people’s relationships to God and to others.
I feel called to give you a personal testimony. Many years ago after I had rededicated my life back to Christ, (after living a major partying lifestyle) I had a friend who spoke the truth in love. No one else in my life at that time seemed to be able to want to do that. They just kept covering up my struggle with alcohol. One day after listening to me complain one too many times she said to me and I quote, “If you don’t make an appointment with the counselor that I suggested today, I am going to drag you there by the hair myself!” Her words were God’s perfect timing and she shocked me into realizing that I could not do this without professional help coupled with the Word of God and His transforming power. I love this verse that speaks what she did for me that day:
Faithful are the wounds of a friend [who corrects out of love and concern], But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful [because they serve his hidden agenda].
You know what? Her faithful wounds were the beginning of my deliverance. I was set free completely within two weeks of those words that she so lovingly spoke to me that day! I am so grateful to God that I did not receive her words as offensive or intrusive. It was His perfect timing.
I love and adore my closest friends. I make sure that I surround myself with people who have no problem delivering a wound when I need to hear it! That is true love!
How about you? Have you surrounded yourself and made yourself accountable to mature believers who can speak the truth in love when you need to hear it? If not, find yourself someone as the Lord leads. You will be glad you did!