[Say] only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs …
While I was growing up, one of the things we were taught was to always tell the truth. Of course!
But one important ingredient in telling the truth was sometimes left out. We were not always told that we should speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). As a result I’ve sometimes told the truth without any regard for how it might hurt the other person.
According to the apostle Paul, we are to say only “what is helpful for building others up according to their needs.” Before we speak, we need to ask ourselves: “Should I say what I am about to say? And is it the right time to say it? Will I be speaking the truth in love, and will it build the other person up?”
A husband coming home from a stressful day at work does not need to be told just then that he forgot to do some chores around the house. A wife who has had a busy day taking care of the children does not need to hear that the house is a mess. A child coming home from school does not need to hear the parents’ criticism the moment he or she walks into the house.
If we learn to speak the truth in love and say only what builds others up, our relationships at home, at school, on the job, and everywhere else will go better. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help you use the gift of speech to build up others.
Father in heaven, thank you for the gifts of speech and communication. Please help each of us learn to speak the truth in love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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