An important distinction: Truth does not change regardless of feelings….
An important distinction:
Truth does not change regardless of feelings. The truth may hurt, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
The most loving thing we can do is be honest, and tell the truth to all people, regardless of how the substance of the truth makes them feel.
The method, attitude, tone, and means of communication are what makes the difference. With our speech we are called to be filled with gentleness and respect, and at the same time we are called to stand firmly for the truth.
This balance means we do not shout and yell, or tell people to “suck it up”, it means we tell the truth in such a way the person knows we are not angry with them, but knows we are not moving from the truth.
Think of a doctor telling his patient of a terminal diagnosis. The doctor is not going to walk in and say, “Well I told you to quit smoking, and because you were too bone headed to listen now look where you’re at. You got five months.” A good doctor would show the results, and gently explain to some effect of this, “We’ve done all we can do. I’m very sorry, but the best we can do is treat the symptoms now. How much time? We estimate with treatment and these measures, five months.”
Did the truth change? No, the patient still has five months. The patient still didn’t stop smoking, and they know that’s the reason. The truth still hurts, but the doctor has explained gently in a way that the patient knows what needs to be done.
Our sin is a terminal illness of sorts. There is nothing we can do, but Jesus can cure us. When speaking to a lost and dying world, remember who the Great Physician is, and to be the salt and light of the world. Unmoving, never compromising, but always doing what is right in love.