Scripture: Jeremiah 15:15 O Lord, you know; remember me and visit me, and bring down retribution for me on my persecutors. In your forbearance do not take me away; know that on your account I suffer insult.
Observation: The prophet Jeremiah was tasked with receiving words from God and sharing those words with the people Israel. Because the people were unfaithful to God, much of what Jeremiah had to say was hard to hear. And, as can sometimes be the case, the people wanted to kill the messenger. In this verse Jeremiah is pleading with God to give him relief from those who persecute him.
Application: Like Jeremiah, we will sometimes need to share difficult truth with people we love and care about. Why? Because “love” and “truth” go together – given that truth is an expression of love. Yet, too often people make the mistake of focusing on one or the other – not both. Here’s what I mean:
Some of us tend to focus on “truth”. We’re all about telling it like it is, even if people don’t want to hear it. We take pride in being a “straight shooter”. But sometimes we fail to couple truth with love. And, if people aren’t confident of our love for them, they aren’t likely to accept the truth we have to offer. Love is the key that opens a person’s heart to receive our council. Without love, truth will only make people defensive or even outright hostile. And our truth is wasted.
Others of us are all about love, but fail to understand that sharing difficult truth with people is an expression of love. And because we don’t want to make anyone mad, or risk their negative response to our difficult truth, we keep the truth to ourselves. Withholding truth from people might spare us the discomfort of a difficult conversation, but it’s not an act of love.
When we consistently invest in people, demonstrating our love and support of them FIRST, then we earn the right to speak truth to them – in a way that we might actually be heard. And when both love and truth come together in this way, it can change a life. Forever.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, you are a God of truth. Give us grace to speak truth to one another… in love. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.