I have been struck lately with just how messy family relationships can be. Well, really any relationships that you care deeply about and are not willing to give up on. I suppose this is nothing that insightful to you reading this because we all have experienced this is life. I just finished reading a book titled, Mistakes Leaders Make by Dave Kraft and the chapter titled ‘allowing artificial harmony to replace difficult conflict’ starts out with this “ Eph. 4:15 admonishes us to speak the truth in love. We are not to be so loving that we don’t speak truth, or so truthful that we don’t speak with love; there is a fine balance between the two that is essential in all human relationships..’
I think the command to balance love and truth can be very challenging. In fact I know I am guilty of not keeping that balance and I am probably more guilty then I realize. However, if a relationship matters to us we must do the courageous thing and seek the balance.
Though conflict is hard, you know you are in a good place relationally when you are courageously trying to resolve conflict and speak the truth in love.
“The reason people give for not dealing with conflict is, ‘I don’t want to be unloving’. What? Not dealing with conflict is the unloving thing to do. Away with the idea that love is never conflicting with a person or never resolving conflicts.” (Mistakes Leaders Make. )
Another quote from Bill Hybels (a relationship gooroo) states,
“Truth telling is more important than peacekeeping…the well-being of the other person is more important than the current comfort level in the relationship…peace at any price is a form of deception from the pit of hell. A relationship built on peacekeeping won’t last. Tough love chooses truth telling over peace keeping and trusts God for the results.”
It is often quite painful to look at truth, especially when you have sinned against another. It is extremely important because it will move the relationships forward. The solution is never to just clam up, shut up and hold our feelings in. I believe Jesus has the power to heal our hurts, help us change our unloving ways and forgive our sinful patterns of interacting. I believe getting the truth out about how we feel will bring clarity to our intentions and correction to the wrong opinions we hold.
If we seek to live out both love and truth we will have to allow our dear relationships to get messy. We need to remember we are sinful people trying to have right relationships. We can not do it without the power of the Holy Spirit and we must do it God’s way. We are in process and always will be this side of heaven.