“Sometimes the truth hurts.” Have you ever heard that? I have. I’ve said it countless times in my life. Problem is,it was usually when I was being a little less than, shall we say, sensitive to someone as I was saying something nobody else wanted to say, but everybody knew it to be true. Follow that? In other words, I would say what nobody else wanted to say because it was a little uncomfortable, or embarrassing or down right mean, but yet it needed to be said. My mouth was eager to speak but my heart wasn’t in the right place, which made the words hit home like a sledge hammer. It wasn’t very compassionate and it certainly wasn’t very Christ like.
There are times we need to say things that aren’t easy to say simply because the nature of things needed to be discussed are difficult, but we should always speak with a pure heart and a motivation to correct and align the individual with God’s standards. Eph. 4:29 says “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it might impart grace to the hearers.” A quick but powerful template we should all consider before we speak. Is what we are about to say according to God’s standards? 1.) Is it good? 2.) Is it really necessary? 3.) Will what we are about to say and how we are going to say it impart grace to those who hear it? Wow! Convicting and powerful.
We also need to account for another angle of difficult words: when they’re being spoken to us. Oh, we’re usually pretty quick about speaking difficult truth to others, but what about when we need to receive it? We shouldn’t discount the impact of difficult truth when spoken, but also when they are received; even when their impact hits home like a fully loaded, 90,000 lb. concrete truck. Consider these words of Proverbs 20:30, 27:5-6 & 28:23: “Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, as do stripes the inner depths of the heart…Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend…He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters with the tongue.” So from just 3 verses in God’s word we can see there is a time to speak and receive difficult truth. Sometimes that truth will hurt, but we don’t need to make it more offensive or abrupt. Speak it with God’s intentions in mind and receive it with the same. Done Biblically, we all will be cleansed and stronger for it.